Monday, July 18, 2022

Abuse and Exploitation of Braceros

An interesting recent update to the abuse of Mexican braceros from the LA Times:

Crouching for up to 10 hours between the furrows of a Nebraska field, Fausto Ríos, 17, could trim and separate 70 beets in a single minute with a small hoe. But he paid a steep price.

Under the scorching heat, sweat would bathe his entire body and blind him within minutes. When his legs began to weaken and the pain in his lower back felt as if he were being continuously stabbed, the Mexican immigrant had two tricks to motivate himself and avoid a scolding from his bosses: He had to stay upright as he “walked” on his knees, all the while thinking about getting paid at the end of the month.

Despite the extreme hardships, the job was a godsend for him and millions of other young Mexican men, Ríos says. For immigrant laborers with little or no formal education and a lack of employment opportunities in their native land, laboring in the fields of el norte offered a way out of utter deprivation.

“Being tied to the ground for hours is not easy, but then I was a young man with many dreams,” Ríos murmurs as he stares out the living-room window of his home in Colton, an hour east of downtown Los Angeles. “But some dreams turn into nightmares that must become part of history so that we don’t repeat them. Read more...


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