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The Bracero, The Wetback, and the Terrorist . Mexican Immigration, Legislation, and National Security . Objectives . Grasp the historical relationship between US and Mexico immigration--, economic--, & power relations

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The Bracero, The Wetback, and the Terrorist


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    1. The Bracero, The Wetback, and the Terrorist Mexican Immigration, Legislation, and National Security

    2. Objectives • Grasp the historical relationship between US and Mexico immigration--, economic--, & power relations • Understand the role of legislation with regards to US capitalism and demand of labor • Analyze how legacies of white supremacy maintain influence and shape contemporary stereotypes of the [Mexican] brown body today

    3. Background • 1846-1848: US launches war against Greater Mexico • Results in the geographical-creation of US Southwest • 1910-1920: Mexican Revolution • 1900-1930: Great Migration of 20th Century • Approx. 46,000 Mexican people immigrate into US • 1929-1939: The Great Depression/La Gran Repatriation • US deports up to two million Mexicans from US. • Up to 60% deported were US citizens.

    4. Rise of white American Nativism • nativism |ˈnātiˌvizəm|noun1 • the policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants : a deep vein of xenophobia and nativism. • 2 a return to or emphasis on traditional or local customs, in opposition to outside influences. • 3 the theory or doctrine that concepts, mental capacities, and mental structures are innate rather than acquired or learned.

    5. U.S. Federal Repatriation Programs • One million Mexicanas/os and Chicanas/os deported. • 1931, Secretary of Labor Doak successfully argues for Congress to fund deportations. • Public “sweeps” • Building for Society of Mexican Laborers Bombed • Handicapped and injured kicked out of hospitals and deported: some sick and elderly die. • Barrios disappear, banks lose money…

    6. The Bracero • The Bracero Program established in 1942 was a “guest worker program”. It “exemplifies the beginning of a formalized system of labor exploitation supported by the United States and Mexican Governments.” (152) • Prior to Bracero Program, the US had racially discriminated against other sources for cheap labor; • Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) • Gentlemen's Agreement (1907) • Japanese Internment Camps (1941-end of WWII)

    7. Compare this Bracero Legislation advertisement to a similar advertisement for labor during our institutionalizing slavery (16-18th) in the United States?

    8. Results of the Bracero Program • Americans benefited from the exploitation of Mexican laborers. • The process created an open and vulnerable space where Mexican people were exposed: • Mistreatment • Forced to work under terrible conditions • Paid meager wages • In short, the Bracero Program was rationalized the US to host an “exploitable guest”.

    9. Mexican-perspective • Mexican young males left families and home nation in pursuit of economic survival in the US. • Mexican nationalists left the state of Mexico energy-less; without a strong male workforce, Mexico’s economy could not prosper. • Mexico/Mexicans did not benefit from the Bracero Program (1942-1954) • Mexican Viseconsul [sic] report written in 1952 (p. 154)

    10. End of Bracero Program • In 1964 “as a result of the efforts of a civil rights coalition that protested against Mexican workers’ inhuman working conditions and the constant violation of their contracts as stipulated in the guidelines of the Bracero Program.” (155) • The End of the Bracero Program was followed by the 1965-Visa Limit Legislation. • The Western Hemisphere to have no more than 20,000 visas per year.

    11. Critical Analysis of US Legislations • “The 1965 visa-limit meant that all countries, regardless of their economic ties to the United States, were to abide by these immigration reforms. This meant ignoring global bridges established by capital in developing countries that facilitated not only the flow of goods but also the flow of people. This capitalist enterprise leads to the dual dependence of capital on cheap Mexican labor and Mexican labor on immigration to the United States” (155).

    12. Critique on US Capital &Labor Legislations US Capital US economic dependency on Mexican labor. Mexican dependency on US capital. Mexican labor

    13. The Wetback • In 1965, the US negotiated with the Mexican Government to implementation of the Border Industrialization Program (BIP). • BIP led to the creation of: • Cuidad Juarez - • Maquiladoras (sweat-shops) in Northern Mexico • “Free Trade Zones” – US/Mexico border • Gendered migration to Northern Mexico. (mostly females)

    14. Maquiladoras • Assembly factories • Import materials for manufacturing, export assembled, processed product. • Unregulated cheap labor allows for mass profits. • 1st expansion in ‘64 Bracero Program • 2nd expansion with ’94 NAFTA Program • Workers earn average of $40/week • Example: Cuidad Juárez

    15. Export Processing Zones (EPZ) • Cuidad Juárez - • 1986 – a maquiladora boomtown • Inadequate housing, exploitive working conditions • 1993-2004: Murder of over 400 women; mostly workers. • Community Activism/Response • Casa Amiga/Friendship House founded by Esther Chávez Cano in 1998 • Ni Una Mas, social justice movement formed in 2002

    16. Racialized and gendered Violence • Femicide: the systematic disappearance, violence, and murder against women. • Rooted in multiple causes such as: racialized poverty • E.g.: Cuidad Juárez

    17. Gendered and racialized violence: Cuidad Juarez

    18. Resistance to Feminicide • Community Activism/Response • Casa Amiga/Friendship House founded by Esther Chávez Cano in 1998 • Ni Una Mas, social justice movement formed in 2002

    19. Consequences of BIP Program • “By restricting the number of visas available to Mexican nationals while at the same time launching the Border Industrialization Program with Mexico, the United States continues to dispense of Mexican labor on an economic whim…the primary advantage for a United States company to operate a maquila is the lower cost of labor in Mexico” (157-8). “In other [words], maquilas fill jobs that United States workers are no longer willing to work.” (158)

    20. Bad Immigrant V. Good Immigrant • “The US has historically maintained exploitative hiring practices that have been dependent upon immigration labor. Such practices have served either to recruit or curtail immigrations from laboring within the United States. These unstable labor practices have also fostered the notion of the “bad immigrant.” • http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/senator-mexican-immigrants-hell-holes-19143501

    21. I.R.C.A. • Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 • Ensured a cheap labor force by granting leniency to agricultural workers • Offered a guest worker program through visas: • H2A – agricultural workers only • H2B – domestic laborers (only if in shortage supply) • “Euro-American corporations could contract with works for specified periods.” (159) • A pool of money allocated to create Border Patrol

    22. Critique of IRCA Legislation • “The difficult with both visa programs is that they make no demands of employers in terms of ensuring fairness to workers. Immigrants are most vulnerable to exploitation under the H2B visa, since there are no provisions in workers’ contracts for protections against corruptive measures often used by employers” • Refusal to cover labor transportation cost to work • Failure to provide decent living conditions • Violations on promised workload/pay • Worker compliance achieved via “politics of deportation”

    23. US-Mexico in the 21st Century • “In the aftermath of IRCA, the 1990s solidified the militarization of the United States-Mexico border. This militarization unfolded as the United States, Mexico, and Canada were preparing to sign NAFTA—an agreement intended to revolutionize the way geopolitical entities would conduct global business into the twenty first century…a new identity emerged that would come to haunt Mexican nationals into the next millennium: the drug dealer” (160-1).

    24. For this week’s lesson, you want to be able to connect how ethnic identities are often times quite an ambiguous project. Much is erased from personhood, in order to create a nationhood. US Nationhood results in systematic laws, policies, and state-sanctioned violenced that discriminate, destabilize, and harm people of color. • This week we focused on how 20th century US immigration policies have harmed the “Hispanic community” in the US since the Great Depression.

    25. NAFTA (1994-Present) • North American Free Trade Agreement • Agreement between U.S., Mexico, Canada • Tariff elimination, reduction of trade barriers • Example of Mexican Corn Farmers • Small farmers pushed off land, displaced • Subsidies eliminated (by 2011), but not for large business in the U.S. • Subsidies to U.S. growers continues to increase

    26. Criminalization of Undocumented Immigrants • Undocumented immigrant decreased by 500,000 between 2007 and 2008 • Border Patrol Budget is at an all time high of 1.4 billion dollars. • Obama Admin. has deported over 1 million immigrants & counting

    27. The Terrorist

    28. U.S. Deportation Programs • S.B. 1070 – Enacted 2010 • Trespassing in Arizona, 20 days in jail • Racial profiling • Immigrants required to carry Immigration papers • Similar laws in South Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota, & Alabama. • Secure Communities - Enacted 2008 • Fingerprints run on all arrested • 400,000 people deported per year

    29. Racial Prejudice & White Supremacist Legislations • “These series of legislative changes directed in major cities and towns along the US-Mexico border illustrate the collaborative efforts by the United States government to conduct political ‘raids’ to appease social paranoia while representing itself as the major global trade partner of Mexico and Canada (thru NAFTA)” (162) • Gatekeeper (1994) in San Diego, CA; Operation Safeguard (1995) in Nogales, AZ; Operation Hold the Line (1997) in New Mexico; Operation Rio Grande (1997) in Southeast Texas border

    30. Border Militarization • The Minutemen Project (2005-Present) • Anti-immigrant terrorist group • Self-armed group of private citizens “protecting” the American border

    31. Real Struggles, Real Issues • Brisenia Flores & father Raul, both U.S. citizens, were killed in their own home. (2009) • Student organization, MEChA, has been under surveillance from LAPD (2009). • Prof. Acuña receives threats from Minutemen (2012).

    32. Concluding Remarks • Must recognize how historically, and contemporarily, US categorizes “citizen”, “border”, and “international labor” • Mexican immigrants have, are, and will remain vital contributions to US economy, society, and politics. • “The historical production of immigration legislation in the US underlines a historicity rooted in ideas of containment and collective xenophobia. Unfortunately, legislative decision-making in the new millennium promises no immediate change” (166).

    33. Resisting Neoliberalism • Neoliberalism is the idea that capitalism is free to dominate the entire world, and so, tough, you have to resign yourself, conform, and not make a fuss—in other words, not rebel. So neoliberalism is like the theory, the plan, of capitalist globalization. Neoliberalism has its economic, political, military and cultural plans. All of those plans have to do with dominating everyone, and they repress or isolate anyone who doesn’t obey so that his rebellious ideas aren’t passed on to others. -- Subcomandante Marcos, la voz del Ejercito Zapatista Liberacion Nacional. (2006, p.97)