I know we have talked before about understanding where I am coming from sometimes in my views or comments about our lives. I feel it’s time I give you some background so that you can better understand me and my family. I’m writing this because I value our friendship and I truly know that you want to learn and understand. I hope that this brings you to the level of knowledge and understanding that can bridge that gap in our friendship.
First, you have to understand a little bit about our history in the United States. We weren’t always Mexicans. A lot of the population came from land that is now America but was Mexico at one time. America won the land and what is now ...view middle of the document...
This large wave Mexican immigration are attracted to low-paid labor jobs and an equally high number moved to low-income communities in ethnic neighborhoods called barrios. During the Great Depression the federal INS adopted a policy of repatriation (Schaefer, R. 2012). About 400,000 Mexican immigrants and their children were given a one-way ticket home. Some were forcibly evicted who refused to accept voluntary repatriation, while some were given special train rides home.
When WWII came about some 500,000 men and women were drafted or volunteered in some way. They became very active and patriotic in the war efforts. Mexican Americans learned many new trades and organizational skills in the service and many civilian men and women had taken well-paid jobs in war industries. The U.S. turned to Mexico to address the labor shortage which brought about the Bracero Program in 1942. This brought importation of temporary contract laborers. By 1964 more than 4 million Mexican farm-workers arrived in the U.S. under this guest work program. Most worked in the cotton fields and orchards of California. In1965 there was the Immigration and Nationality Act. It set strict quotas on the number of people who could legally enter the U.S. from Latin American nations and most new Mexican migration to the U.S. in the 60’s and 70’s was temporary and short-term. Mexican migration has grown drastically since the 80’s due to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who had resided in the U.S. before 1982, but, imposed penalties on employers who hired illegal immigrants.
As you can see there has been a back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. for many, many years and generations. It always seems to center around cheap labor and economic issues where Mexicans need jobs to support their families either here in the U.S. or back in Mexico. After the 1960’s the Chicano movement erupted which was a movement along the same lines of the civil rights struggles (Schaefer, 2012). Its hopes were to educate, support and decrease the prejudice and discrimination that continued for the Mexican American population. It dealt with unequal educational and employment opportunities, political disenfranchisement and police brutality.