Who were the braceros in World War II and What does Braceros mean in Spanish?

No sooner had repatriation removed Mexican Americans than the country wanted them back.

When the United States plunged into World War II (1941-1945), the economic distress of the Great Depression ended. Citizens, unemployed and otherwise, were drafted into military service. Farms and factories came back to life to provide supplies for the troops.

Suddenly there was a shortage of laborers to pick the crops. Who better to do the job than the same people who had done it before the Great Depression?

The United States and Mexico agreed in 1942 that Mexican laborers, called braceros, would be recruited to work here for a specified time. About 300,000 Mexican braceros took part in the program by the time the war ended.

Braceros got their name because they worked with their arms, brazos in Spanish.

It was the equivalent of calling an employee a “hired hand.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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