For immediate release: March 1, 2021
Contact: Evy Peña, email@example.com
Bracero 2.0 is not a humane response to MX-USA labor migration
Today, President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met in a highly publicized meeting to discuss among other things a proposal for a labor migration program between the two countries. A proposal suggested by President Lopez Obrador in a statement over the weekend. In the suggested proposal, Mexican workers would come to work in the United States via a labor migration scheme similar to the World War II-era Bracero Program. The mere suggestion of another Bracero Program is alarming for CDM and its allies in the fight for workers’ rights.
In looking for solutions, the governments of the US and Mexico must look critically at our history and learn from their mistakes. The Bracero Program was a federally-sanctioned program that allowed U.S. farmers to hire only young Mexican men, pay them cheap wages, and send them back to Mexico when the work season was over. Initiated on August 4, 1942 when the United States signed the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement with Mexico, the Bracero Program allowed these Mexican workers to be exploited, discriminated against, and subjected to living and working conditions that would shock our conscience in this day and age. Racist abuse and segregation was the norm for this workforce. Good enough to work in the United States, but not good enough to enter food establishments nor access basic living necessities. This program was far from an idyllic experience for workers and their families with many workers waiting to see their unpaid wages still to this date.
CDM in conjunction with Migration that Works, a coalition of labor, migration, civil rights, and anti-trafficking organizations and academics, proposes a new path forward to labor migration–one founded in treating people humanely and with dignity. MTW envisions a values-based model for labor migration that prioritizes the human rights of workers and their families, elevating labor standards for all workers. We seek to build a future in which workers have control over their labor migration process, access to justice, and a pathway to citizenship. A future in which workers are not exploited nor subjected to abusive work conditions.
We have a solution to labor migration that is not based on recreating the mistakes from the past. We welcome an opportunity to put it into action.
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) envisions a world where migrant workers’ rights are respected, and laws and policies reflect their voices. Through education, outreach, and leadership development; intake, evaluation, and referral services; litigation support and direct representation; and policy advocacy; CDM empowers Mexico-based migrant workers to defend and protect their rights as they move between their home communities in Mexico and their workplaces in the United States. www.cdmigrante.org