The ideological legacy of the Great Depression lingered after the economy was able to bounce back. During the Great Depression, many Mexican-American and Mexican immigrants organized and worked together in efforts to better the working conditions both groups endured. Through the development of worker unions, groups came together and developed a different political view and insight of those that advocated assimilation (Gutierrez, 107). Prior to the Great Depression, Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants had a tumultuous relationship but working side by side in the fields and factories allowed for a new found acceptance among the two groups. During the 1930, organizations like UCAPAWA and the Congress of Spanish-Speaking Peoples were developed to better conditions and attempt to fuel acceptance of the Mexican populations in America (Gutierrez, 109).
In late 1941, the United States government looked towards Mexico as a labor shortage became eminent and the need for increased production became imperative for the United States fighting in Europe. In August 1942 Mexico and the United States came to an agreement which allowed a substantial amount of Mexican contract workers to enter into the United States for work (Gutierrez, 134). The Bracero program was designed to allow Mexican workers into the states for a period of time, if the secretary of labor officially verified that local shortages of American citizen laborers existed and ensured that the implementation of the Bracero program did not interfere with local wages and working conditions (Gutierrez, 134).
The lasting legacy of the Bracero program was that it did not limit the amount of illegal immigrants that were migrating to the United States under the Bracero program. Furthermore, the terms that were agreed upon, between the United States and Mexico were predominantly ignored by farm owners and the United States government. Due to the impending food shortages in Mexico during this time, the prospects of working in the United States with higher wages and better conditions enticed too many workers over the border and subsequently caused a massive influx of immigration. Unfortunately, this wartime policy created unexpected consequences for the Mexican American population in Texas and especially the state government (Gutierrez, 140). The impact of the Bracero program created racial tension between the Mexican-American population and the Mexican workers.
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