For parts of the 20th century, the U.S. and Mexico had agreements in place allowing, and even encouraging, Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. to perform agricultural work and other labor in the American Southwest.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for this package comes from see you now, a pike has created by Johnson and Johnson and the American Nurses Association, highlighting innovative in human centred solutions, driven by nurses, addressing today's most challenging healthcare problems hosted by nurse economist and health tax, specialist Shanna Butler over the decades. In centuries we ve been looking at our says at their work and their research and their science, but we haven't really been seeing them see you now available wherever you get past work until you missed an industry from house to house and welcome to the party ass actually faintly Wilson and I'm Holly fry Today I am having a lot of people think concerns about immigration, our recent phenomenon,
definitely going to state whose, where we live and can talk about firm experience, but I'm maybe and other nations to but definitely in the U S right people don't think of this ass. A thing that's been around for a long time I think, there's gonna veiling thought that you know their cause Lists came, and that was the immigration thing. And then there was this big gap and now we're all arguing and worried about it again now thirty there's so in a hidden away in a way, ITALY is a new concern for people became for about a hundred and fifty years after the nation was founded, there weren't, really any immigration laws right. If you could get here, you got to live here. That was basically how until we know that the night
eventually so back in the late. Seventeen hundred country didn't really seem to care about about immigration, they get another way. It is not a new concern at all, because the United States started passing immigration laws and a lot of them were targeted at emigrants from specific countries in the eighteen sixties sources. The really new idea, given the whole history of the United States as a nation really old one given, but it's been around for more than a hundred and fifty years so that hold dear and between like legal and illegal immigration is simultaneously new and old in today's as there are today story, is part of that century. Long history, because for parts of the twentieth century, the United States and Mexico had agreements in place that were allowing and even encouraging mexican nationals to enter the United States that the agricultural work and other labour mode Finally, in the american Southwest and one specific programme called, the brisk era
programme, was launched during World war to address labour shortage as and men were needed for the war effort unintended side effect of this programme that was about legally. Coming to the United States work was the huge increase in the number of people who were crossing the border for Mexico illegally, and they have these legal entry, is reached. The point that the government implemented. Another programme, which I want to make it clear. This is not acceptable word to use today, but is literally what the programme was named. It was called operation wet back to deport mexican nationals and huge groups. Intertwined stories of these two government programmes is what we are going to talk about today and before nineteen ten, There was simply not a lot of regulation of the United States border with Mexico. People pretty much crossed back and forth, as they pleased and as agricultural industry started to really grow in the southwest. These interests.
Started to really rely on this readily available and seasonal workforce that was coming in from Mexico in the nineteenth, These this also became true of other industries in the American West and South West as well, including railroads and mining, but today we're talking. mostly about agriculture, so using MAX nationals of a source of labour, basically king, with some benefits Cultural work and a lot of places is highly seasonal and, for the most part, migrant workers, who were? U S? Citizens were traveling as families they spend a year moving from place to place as a family for the most part, spending a lot more time, looking for work and actually working and when or was work. It was usually work that the whole family did, including the children and an effort to try to make enough money to last them for the rest of the year, so that an ideal situation, then a lot of ways
Second workers, on the other hand, tended to be young men travelling in groups with other young men The young man was overall a lot more efficient than a family with children and on the more exploitive side of things. Many were willing to accept lower wages than what was considered standard among Americans because of a limited profit. See what the english language mexican nationals were often unaware of laws or standards that could protect them in their work and, as a result, there were a lot of growers, and farmers in the American West and South West who are willing to overlook the issue of whether a person had come into the United States legally or not? In order to get cheap, easy to exploit labour. By the early nineteenth twenties, though an increasing number of people were starting to think of this basically open border in the way it affected. The labour pool is a big problem. Large farms
For driving down their own costs by employing large numbers of mexican migrant workers that have really low rates of pay and small farms consider themselves to be at a big financial disadvantage. As a result, labour organization started tacitly excluding mexican workers when they form the unions also started using their political clout to lobby the government for more enforcement along the border and to put a stop to emigration from Mexico and nine. Twenty four, the United States formally established the border patrol as part of the Labour Appropriation act as they government started, taking steps to secure the mexican border and curtail illegal immigration in the nineteen twenties local. unities and states began, taking steps to regulate their own mexican population as well as we discussed in our pockets on Mendez Versions, Westminster and Mackereel, Garcia much of the south.
And West approached it systemic and latino population. In much the same way, most of the rest of the nation did its black population through segregation, which was reinforced. either through laws or through social customs in places with large mexican and mexican American Populations Discrimination widespread and socially accepted by much of the anglo community during the great there. And which lasted roughly a decade, beginning in nineteen, twenty nine and the dust Ball, which was a devastating period of drought and thus storms that struck much of the South West and great plains. During the same time, why was pretty hard for everybody in the region. But it was specially hard for people of mexican descent. The community was increasingly hostile towards mexican migrants viewing them as unnecessary competition for incredibly scarce jobs. The interest
if that had been relying so heavily on mexican labour, for so long increasingly tried to exclude Mexicans from their workforce and during the great depression prior to depression. The United States and Mexico have been working together to find ways to send mexican nationals who were in the? U s illegally back to Mexico during the great depression. Those efforts increased President Herbert ordered the Department of Labour to work out a deportation programme, the mix, Can government tried to identify its citizens, who were in the United States and in many cases paid for their return Mexico also do great Depression Mexico was facing its own labour shortage, so part of the reason it paid to repatriate its citizens was to try to fill that labour shortage. three nineteen, twenty nine and nineteen thirty five about eighty a thousand Mexicans voluntarily return from Mexico.
And another four hundred thousand were deported or repatriated, depending on how you want to look at it most of the ones you try to return to the United States during the rate, depression were turned away at the border, which, at this point, was a lot more secure than been earlier than the nineteen twenties, however, things shifted dramatically once again during world war, to the draft up to all men residing in the United States. Whether they were citizens or not, roughly seven hundred fifty thousand hispanic. Man saw some sort of active service in the war so many men serving in the war. The job market changed dramatically in the United States Many men who had held agricultural jobs went to serve in the war and then other men and women moved out of agriculture and into higher paying manufacturing jobs that were either opened up as part of the war effort or because the people you
been doing those jobs join the armed forces, the were also disrupted trade with Europe, which cut off the United States sources of many goods and meant that basically, Amerika had to make them for ourselves The overall effect of all this on the labour pool for agricultural work was, as you might suspect, enormous and let the? U S to work out a programme specifically to recruit mexican workers and we're gonna talk more about that after we pause and thank one of those funds. keeps our show going. Here's the thing saving money with Geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball, because there's always that guy who joins your game. He never passes the rock he constantly bricks theories and who completely you and then put his hands up and say no foul, no foul with Geico. It's easy to switch. Save on car insurance? No, the vacant fake an ankle sprain because you're absolutely exhausted, so
which, in save with Geiger it's almost better than sports. to return to that were Cerro programme? This huge shift in the workforce during world war? Two had immediate and detrimental effects on agriculture. Soon, after We're began the southwest cotton and vegetable growers where petitioning Congress to hire temporary workers to help them build a labour shortfall that basically met they couldn't harvest what they needed to harvest see here was that this workforce would be temporary in the words of a report. President Harry S: Truman Commission, on migratory labour later in on a nineteen. Fifty one quote the demand migratory labour is thus essentially twofold to be ready to go to work when needed to be gone when not needed, the United States, leaning on Franklin D, Roosevelt Good Neighbour policy, started trying to work out a bilateral agreement with Mexico that would allow
mexican nationals to enter the United States to work, and then what home when they were done at first. Mexico was reluctant do this for a number of reasons: mexican citizens, who it previously emigrated to do exactly these types of work had face discrimination and exploitive treatment and the United States many had been foresight. Their jobs and stranded during the great depression. So basically, Mexico remembered all of that and just didn't have a lot of confidence that its citizens would be treated fairly. If they went back to the United States are worth so Mexico, and did that any agreements spell out protections for its citizens, one that would protect mexican laborers while in the United States, and would protect Mexico's own industries from Sir ring due to a lack of workers mexican however, see some potential benefits to allowing its citizens to work in the United States. It was hoped that anyone who entered the probe
would return home with money that would be injected into the mexican economy running parallel That was the idea that Mexico's workers would learn new techniques relating to agriculture and then bring those new techniques back to Mexico Well to this negotiation between Mexico and the United States was the breasts Arrow programme, which was launched in nineteen forty, two by executive order and then formalised by a bilateral agreement on April twenty six nineteen, forty three, it would look. here be amended by public law. Seventy eight and nineteen fifty one the basic terms of the brazilian, programme would be that this would be non. Military work was not acceptable to recruit mexican nationals to work in agriculture and put them into the military service. Mexican nationals would be protected from discrimination employ would pay transportation and living expenses, as well as a fair wage workers, would medical and sanitary services at no cost to them. People
in rolling in the more thorough programme would sign a spanish language contract and be paid paid, a fair waves that would not be less than what was standard for anglo workers in the area and, under the age of fourteen were not allowed. There were also operate actions. If there was a shortage of work, guaranteeing a subsistence level pay if someone contracted with the Mexican National but turned out not to have work for them A percentage of the pursuers pay was also to be saved and returned to them once they returned to Mexico. The criteria for the workers themselves, where that they had to be young, healthy men who had agricultural experience but did not own land of their own. They also,
needed to have a letter from local authorities saying that their labour wasn't needed where they actually lives, and that was to try to diminish the impact on Mexicans. Mexico's own labour force. Applicants would go to collection points in Mexico, be fingerprinted, be sprayed bound with DDT and then be taken to the United States. In spite of concerns that mexican nationals would take jobs away from Americans at first, the scene a mutually beneficial agreement. The United States would get the floor labor it needed and Mexico get new modernize farming techniques, an injection of cash into its economy and jobs? for citizens who needed them, however, things too turn, for the worse pretty much immediately most of the work, be done- was known as stoop labour. This was cultivation where it was done using a short handled how stooped over rose incident in the fields this was a ruling and like it could have been done with it
handled her, instead of a short handled, how that required, evil literally stoop over, but for some reason people thought along handled red PO was damaging to the crops today a b short handled HO is regarded as an occupational hazard and in many states it is banned as unsafe there were also way more interested mexican nationals than there were jobs and see Officials processing applications were excepting bribes to move people ahead of the wine recruitment efforts became prone to corruption. People who did meet these qualifications for one reason or another also started using the constant traffic back and forth across the border to make the crossing themselves illegally and, as was the case, for there were still plenty of growers who are willing to hire these people for almost no money. Unscrupulous growers also
figured out that a lot of the mexican nationals who were actually part of the brazilian programme didn't have a lot of proficiency in English and weren't aware of the pay and protections they were legally entitled to under the terms of this programme. This definitely was universal in various parts of the United States. Brazil arrows organize themselves and went on strike to protest, lower wages and poor treatment that were specifically. in the brief arrow programmes terms. Many where's flouted the rules of the programme and hired people who had crossed illegally to get around having to worry about all of this Mexican. Eventually refuse to send workers to the entire state of Texas. Because of flagrant hiring of unauthorized workers, as well as other abuses,. Soon. The illegal border crossings with rampant, amber employee People who had entered illegally was widespread. Wages started to drop for basically every
because there were so many low wage workers who had become part of the economy in the South West that man, standard housing and medical care that was supposed to be part of this programme also didn't materialise in a lot of people who actually were part of it wound it tightly, packed together in barracks, on canvas cause Respiratory diseases and other illnesses spread like wildfire over that many two year, life of this programme, four point: five million Mexican nationals legally came to the United States to work some of them returning to the: U S repeatedly under new contracts, but far more. Entered illegally outside the bounds of the programme there are? actually, a six thousand percent increase in illegal immigration between nineteen, forty, four and nineteen. Fifty four support further
Programme, which had never been universal, started to wane after world war, two was over and Americans who would survive the war started to return home and try to reclaim their old jobs. The official time. Programme ended on December thirty, first of nineteen, forty seven. Although the programme continued to be extended for peacetime purposes, for quite a while after that- and eventually actually fed up with what it saw as the United States refusal to enforce the terms of their bilateral agreement stopped participating by declining to send any more workers through official channels, according to the two the state historical associations, handbook of Texas, the? U S tallied it against Mexico's non participation in nineteen. Fifty one by allow thousands of people to enter the EU as illegally arresting them and then, rather than deporting them turning them over to the Texas why my commission to be put to work by the nineteenth. Steve the research programme was officially on the way out later.
organizations had become a lot more influential in policy and had started advocating very vocally for jobs in the United States to be filled by Americans and not by Mexicans at the same time, increasing mechanization in the agriculture industry, meant that a lot of a physical labour that had required this huge labour pool was disappearing. The need for. Labour became a lot smaller the verses. program needed to be re, authorize periodically, and there are increasingly contentious debates whenever it came up for renewal its authorizations in nineteen sixty one. Nineteen sixty three in particular, were extremely hotly debated. There was a lot of pressure to The programme after a bus accident killed thirty to migrant workers in nineteen sixty three, the Proserpine eventually expired. The following year in nineteen, sixty four with analysed The programme, one of the things that proponents had often sat about it turned out, apparently to be true.
people who were in favour of the programme insisted that american workers did not want to do this work, which is why it needed to be opened. extra can nationals after that listen of the programme. There were about five hundred nineteen thousand unemployed people in California, which should have been plenty to cover the seventy thousand people who were needed to do stoop labour and the agricultural industry, but the name the nature of the work and the wages that were that were offered meant that a lot of these jobs went unfilled and tons of fruits and vegetables rooted in the field, so that there is a lot of arguments. should have been like a gradual, phased out, rather than just an abrupt abolition as we said at the top of the show running parallel to all of this was a man's deportees. In programme focused on Mexican nationals called the horrible name. Operation went back and we're gonna talk about that after we pause once again take a break in here from one of our fantastic sponsor Haivy line, its Katy current.
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operation went back as an example of how the United States thinking on immigration sifted in the nineteen, thirty and forty President Franklin D, about combines two other government agencies to form the emigration and naturalisation service in nineteen. Thirty. Three: this agency Originally part of the Department of Labour in nice in forty that change the eye and ass in the border patrol that fell under it moved from the Department of Labour to the Department of Justice that, with that the eye and ass, the border patrol were no longer about work. They were about enforcement, and, as we said, operation went back, was a mass deportation effort that came along after the iron S moved. The department of Justice is often porter It is a swift, decisive effort to deport people who had entered the U S illegally, but it was really power over decades. Long effort that ran, as we said, parallel to most of the research programme, in them team forties, for example, special mexican deportation parties, were established.
To try to apprehend and deport mexican migrant workers in nineteen. Forty there was an attempt to reinforce targeted portions of the border with chain link fencing in there Jeanne, Fortys and nineteen thrifty. Some border patrol agents ran and unsanctioned quote little barbershop, basically clippers that they carried with them to cut the hair of PETE immigration offenders times in humiliating ways. In terms of the more above board, to control immigration, a lot of them really where across National, the United States wanted to keep illegal immigration, from driving down wages and causing housing and social issues within its own borders and Mexico wanted to have enough workers labour needs and also protect its citizens from exploitation and discrimination. While they were in the United States in nineteen Fifty one a report on mexican migrant workers in the: U S pinned all sorts of social and economic ills, on illegal immigration and character,
the situation as an invasion, the. U S was diverting more and more of the border patrol and I and ass to the mexican border. More than doubling the number of just that were stationed there and between nineteen? Forty ray and nineteen. Fifty three there were a lot more people apprehended in illegal border crossings. The number from eleven thousand seven hundred and fifteen and nineteen forty three to eight hundred and eight five thousand five hundred eighty seven in nineteen, fifty three with Mexicans, more and more of those apprehended at the same time Both the United States didn't actually increase the immigration and naturalisation services budget. So, even though there are more even on the mexican border, there were fewer overall, with the forces numbers dropping a third between nineteen, forty, two and nineteen, fifty one. When why the Eisenhower took office as president in nineteen fifty three its estimated that three million mexican nationals in the U S had entered the country illegally, but previous efforts to deplore
had increasingly stalled out because so many farms and ranches were dependent on this illicit labour pool in the words of Walt Edward, who served in the border patrol from nineteen fifty one, nineteen sixty four quote when we come illegal aliens on farms and ranches the farmer rancher would often call and complain, and depending on how politically connected they were, there would be Nickel intervention that political intervention was basically getting their workers out of jail and turning away from the fact that they were not supposed to be in the United States and nineteen. Fifty four pardon how're appointed General Joseph Swing, also known as jump and Joe as the commissioner of the immigration and naturalisation service swing, started. Transferring immigration officials who had spent a long time in the South West to other parts of the country, with the hope of breaking all those social and political ties to all the local farmers ranch.
and political bigwigs that was leading the service did not actually enforce immigration Andrew Ninth nineteen fifty four swing, the commencement of operation wet back, one of the operation, was meant to physically apprehend and remove people who had illegally emigrated into the United States. The other was to publicize this effort to make sure people who work in the country legally knew about it and see the deportation force as a threat, a lot Publicity deliberately exaggerated the size and aggressiveness of the deportation force in the hope of skin people into leaving the country voluntarily on June seventeen nineteen. Fifty four immigration officials started the actual sweeps to apprehend and deport people who had illegally emigrated about seven hundred and fifty immigration agents moves nor through California, in Arizona they started than those few states, because the entrenched resistance to deportation was lower. There's their hoping
can I get a good foothold before moving on to places where it was more contentious a goal of apprehending a thousand people who had entered the country illegally every day by the end of July. Fifty thousand people have been arrested in California in Arizona and it S. It had four hundred eighty eight thousand had fled the United States on their own. there's Tracy had said it started in California, in Arizona, but from there it moved into Utah, Nevada, Texas. In Idaho Inimical, officials put the people they were apprehended in these sweeps onto trains and buses bound for Mexico far enough South that they simply couldn't turn around and re enter. The United States too, We were also used for this purpose: the amazing she's in the mercurial carried people from Port Isabel in Texas, about five hundred miles to very crews in Mexico happen
The iron as claimed that it deported one point: three million people during operation went back, but those numbers have not really held up to historical scrutiny. It definitely lower than that and it might have been as low as three hundred thousand. These efforts to actually disrupted some of the agriculture industry and the states that were targeted by deporting their work forces. where we see a lot of the agriculture industry and the southwestern West had become highly dependent on this illegal labour. The government tried to reassure people that they could get new labour through the research programme, which was still in effect at this point and additions immediate impact that it had on the agriculture industry. There were other problems with product way back as well aside from its name, which amnesty and is a racial slur. We would not normally say on a show every one of mexican that was first back whether they had entered the
cream illegally or not, and a lot of lawful residents, some of them american citizens were deported and error. Families were broken up when some members were caught up in a sweep and others work. children were left with anyone without any one to look after them when their parents were arrested and deported Mexicana can communities where disrupted, when their populations are basically decimated, and then that would basically leave whoever was left without the basic life amenities that they needed. And the problems did not end north of the border. People who Dropped off in Mexico were often left incompletely unfamiliar territory where they had no friends or family without any food without water and with no money. Eighty eight people from just one round of died of heat straw. After being left in remote territory, without food or water condition, on the emancipation, and the were also appalling. Incredibly, overcrowded and dismal
on one voyage, a riot broke out and the use of ships was eventually stopped. After seven people drowned during one voyage. A pirate All of that that temporary their pay. That was supposed to be withheld for legitimate participants of the research programme and then returned to them when they return to Mexico lotta people never saw it within the works in two thousand and eight to restore this pay to the former workers and their descendants, but as I've twenty thirteen there were still marches and protests going on to have this money restored because it had never actually happened. So that is the basics of like this long convoluted, intertwined effort to both recruit and deport mexican nationals in the United States. Know for sure that there are folks in the world whose mindset is well there illegally in here. It serves them right Personally, I think that, if you are
Traveling hundreds of miles away from your family to do physically grew stoop labour for little money. Lake imagine what your life is like to leave you to that decision right. Yet, like what other option might you have? You have empathy, that's what I'm saying do you have some listener mail that his empathetic or otherwise? Doesn't he dos really struck a chord with me? I didn't learn about him in his request, but I was familiar with his story when I was a boy I love to read my favorite place. Was the public library and longer here tracing Holly, I want to drop you a note and say how much I enjoy listening to the podcast. I go for a walk every morning before I go to work, and I listened to podcast as I walk, I am pretty sure that Friends and family are tired of you telling them things. I have learned by listening to you. Your recent podcast Desmond T Dos really struck chord with me. I didn't learn about him in history class, but I was familiar with his story
the boy I love to read my favorite place was the public library and longer Colorado during the time I was the school among I read just about every book. In the kid section of the library I still remember, being disappointed, and I was only allowed to check out three books at I'm. I also didn't understand why I couldn't check out books from the adult section on my kids library card, a pause from this for the programme for this, This was exactly my experience as a child it was pretty close to mine, and I will say when I first read this email, whenever scheme in my first thought was: Tracy is going to fall in love with this. I also had the much of it. When I was in pre school, I had read all the books in the classroom and then there weren't any more knows very frustrated by the situation as a this is a comparison. My solution was to kind of sweet talk, though Miriam him and I got books on the download. I will, if I was to socially anxious to do this,
in kindergarten. My teacher wanted me to go to the library by myself to get books to read because, like I already could read so I didn't really need the lessons about how to rate, and I would just I would just cry because I could Handle the idea of going to library by myself asking a stranger to help me find a book anyway. I'm gonna get it back. for the latter now, which is much more positive and a story that I just told so Richardson I would take my three books home and have them read in a day or two and then beg my mama to take me back to the library I kept a flashlight him for reading after I was supposed to be asleep along on the long might public library was my access to knowledge. One books that I read that made a big impression on me was the unlikely s hero by Wooten. Herndon was a story of Desmond Tutu, ass in ninety. Ninety nine, I have the honour of listening to Desmond Dost speak to a group of young people, may have taken a group of young boys ages, ten to fourteen to hear him after his talk, my boys
Let me have we waited for a chance to talk to him, doesn't state everyone who wanted to meet him had a chance. He took the time to visit with each one of the boys personally after he talked the boys loved him and were very impressed. They said me, we got to me a real american hero. I am you have been able to meet this gentleman story made an impression on me when I was a boy and when I am, I was impressed by his humility. Even everyone in the audience wanted to hear by his medal of honor. He was uncomfortable talking about his actions. He focused more on me. Prepared and being willing to help others. He stressed the importance of standing up for your convictions Member taught him talking about the poster that said the ten commandments, the Lord's prayer, and what an impression made on him. Thank you for making where people aware of this humble american hero Richard. Thank you so much Richard. I don't have anything else to add cause. I interrupted her letter to add
I left my commentary support your local library, I can say for sure I so much of our work side directly to our local. I believe, have such such fond memories of my local library when I was a child and summer reading programmes and where we lived was kind of world. So it took us a little while to get a library bed all summer along. I basically looked forward to go into library and getting as many but possible. If you would like to write to us about this during the past, where history pike Ass, it has to work stuck on our health on Facebook at Facebook that calm, slash must in history and we're on Twitter is than history are. Tumblr is missed in history, that tumblr dot com, or also on pantries dependence accomplishments in history Our instagram is that Mr History, also, if you would like to learn more about we talked about today and come to our parent companies website, which is how stuff works, dot, com and new will find all kinds of articles on stuff can also come to
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