It’s interesting to that recently we have experienced a reminiscence of the Bracero programs that was implemented throughout the 1940s through the 1960s. This program called for temporary Mexican labor that the agricultural industry saw as desirable due to the fact that laborers were willing to work for low wages and in poor working conditions (i.e. housing, food etc..) During this time period, over four million Mexican laborers were contracted under a temporary contract. Of course, having the ability to look back now and reflect, we now see a parallel to this program with the undesirable social and political consequences on both sides of the US-Mexican border.
Similarly, the H2-A program is also a guest worker program to provide industries, such as the agriculture industry, with cheap labor. In the year 2006, the United States employed about 40,000 people a year. In the year 2011, the United States issued about 55,000 H2-A visas (A Brief History of Guestworkers in America). The reason for this need even today is because employers are dependent on the cheap labor the workers provide. I find it odd that we allowed a similar program to the Bracero Program to be placed. In fact, according to the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Close to Slavery, “In practice, there is little difference between the bracero program and the current H-2 guest worker program” (Illegal People).
What’s the message we’re trying to convey in the United States? That if one is undocumented that’s not allowed, but when the U.S. can use you until we can dispose of you? Although it’s in the interest of US economic policies, humans are not commodities are should not be treated like one. As we see today in the dilemma with the implementation of new immigrant policies, social consequences will inevitably arise.