Braceros

What these two primary sources reveal about the Braceros system is this: the system was one that was not designed to benefit the Mexican worker, even though that’s how it was marketed to people like Juan Loza. Loza claims that he was convinced to become a Bracero by his godfather, who had been one himself, and that he was under the impression that he would be able to make enough money to support his family back home. Instead he found himself subject to a system that took advantage of it’s labor force, often being made to work “24 hours a day, 7 days a week” for less than a dollar (Loza).

Similarly, this system also used the United States legal system against the Braceros. In a chapter from Mae Ngai’s book¬†Impossible Subjects the author discusses a man named Clemente Martinez. Martinez, an American citizen of Mexican descent, was born in the U.S. and lived there until he was roughly 10 years old, when his family moved back to Mexico. During World War Two he lied about his citizenship status to avoid being drafted. Instead he worked as a part of the Bracero system. However, later, in the 1950s, he was deported to Mexico, despite his status as an American citizen. According to Ngai, ¬†“a federal court rejected Martinez’s claim that he could not be deported” regardless of his claim of American citizenship (Ngai). The courts used his participation in the Bracero system against him, showing how little the legal system cared about the workers that were being exploited.

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