TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
24 Dec 2021 05:47
stg 44 wrote: ↑
23 Dec 2021 15:28
They also imported millions of people from Latin America for labor
It definitely wasn't millions, more like tens of thousands. The biggest chunk was the bracero program
, which was perhaps 150k men on farms and railroads.
For an idea of the wartime racism that constrained the otherwise exemplary idea of importing millions of Latin Americans, consider the name of the program
to cleanse the postwar US of these laborers.
You're only talking about the legal programs. As your wikipedia article mentions there was something around 100,000 people illegally migrating to the US in the 1920s, substantially more than those going through the legal route (roughly 62,000 additional people).
As to the Bracero program:
During the Bracero program, "an estimated 4.6 million workers entered America legally, while other immigrants that were turned away still entered" because of the work opportunities occurring in the southwest.
Of course the program ran for 20 years, so much of those people entered after the war. Still during the war just the legal program labor force made up nearly 10% of the US workforce in agriculture:
From 1942 to 1947, only a relatively small number of braceros were admitted, accounting for less than 10 percent of U.S. hired workers.
That only counts the legal labor force:
Yet both U.S. and Mexican employers became heavily dependent on braceros for willing workers; bribery was a common way to get a contract during this time. Consequently, several years of the short-term agreement led to an increase in undocumented immigration and a growing preference for operating outside of the parameters set by the program.
So the undocumented labor force from the 1920s onwards could have been much higher than the legal one. It should be kept in mind that the illegal immigrants from pre-war wouldn't be registered for the draft and would continue to be an additional 'off the books' labor force that the Bracero program wouldn't have even involved, so the accumulated 'extra' labor from off the books immigration in the 1920s could have been pretty substantial assuming few returned home during the Depression. Since, as the article says, the Bracero program had so many restrictions it is entirely possible that the preference for illegal labor then meant the majority of the imported workforce was 'off the books' entirely. But AFAIK there is no study with numbers to actually prove that unfortunately and at best we can just make some assumptions off of the number of people eventually deported en masse by Eisenhower.
Just going off the 1920s rates 1 million people were illegally immigrating every decade from the 1920s on until the harsh border enforcement and deportation program of Eisenhower. That's not counting legal immigration (620,000 people per decade from the 1920s) or the separate Bracero program. Likely it dipped in the 1930s due to the Depression, but then grew very quickly in the later 1930s and war years due to economic recovery and wartime demands for labor. Unfortunately I can only offer speculation informed by the limited numbers quickly available.