Smithsonian scholar examines legacy of the U.S.-Mexico Bracero Program

Just two days after the end of an election season in which immigration was a top issue, historian Mireya Loza spoke to students and faculty about the Bracero Program, a binational agreement between the United States and Mexico that allowed Mexican male laborers to enter the United States on temporary work permits to cover a labor shortage brought on by World War II.

Over 4.5 million bracero contracts were issued between 1942 and 1964, with most participants working in the agriculture and railroad sectors. While the program was received with excitement immediately after the war, that feeling dissipated throughout the 1950s and 1960s.