By Mariana Llamas-Cendon
VENTURA COUNTY — The Bracero Program had a profoundly personal impact on the life of Jose Alamillo.
His father, grandfather and other family members left their homes in Mexico and joined more than five million other Mexican nationals to work the fields in the United States.
Mexican participants of the Bracero Program. One image from the traveling bracero exhibit.
(Photo: Museum of Ventura County)
The guest worker program was launched in 1942 at a time when the nation was suffering a severe worker shortage due to World War II.
But while it ended in 1964, the Bracero Program has left an indelible mark on both the United States and Mexico, leading to long periods of family separations, guest workers facing loneliness and struggling to fit into American society and opening the door to greater migration from Mexico to the United States.
The impact of the program will be examined during the traveling exhibit “The Braceros of Ventura County,” to be presented March 24-27 at the Museum of Ventura County. Presented in collaboration with California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI), future exhibits are also planned throughout Ventura County, said Alamillo, associate professor and coordinator of the Chicana/o Studies Program at the university.
While the Bracero Program was designed as a short-term effort to provide workers to the United States during World War II, Alamillo said the vast majority of those workers, about 90 percent of them, remained after their contract had ended…
Finish reading Braceros — soldiers in the fields