Contemporary History of Immigration - 2/25
Join Prof. Israel Pastrana as he talks about the World War II-era guest worker program popularly known as the “Bracero Program.” Responding to wartime labor shortages in agriculture, the U.S. and Mexican governments worked together to recruit and transport tens of thousands of “braceros” to labor in fields across the country. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.5 million labor contracts had been signed by untold numbers of Mexican men, including Pastrana’s grandfather, Magdaleno Cibrian. Pastrana, who teaches U.S. and Mexican History at PCC, will talk about the significance of the guest worker program and its role in shaping the dynamics of our contemporary immigration debate.
Library, 706 4th St., 7 pm
Pastrana came to PCC from San Diego, CA where for almost thirty years he lived and studied the southern border and the experiences of the people who cross it. He began his education at Southwestern College, a community college near the international border, before transferring to the University of Oregon where he completed a B.A. in History. He then earned a M.A. in History at the University of California, San Diego. He is presently a Ph.D. candidate in United States History.
His dissertation, "Bracerismo: Guestworker Programs and Undocumented Migration from Mexico to the United States, 1907-1967," examines the relationship between state-sanctioned labor importation programs and the undocumented movement of people across the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to Pastrana, "Bracerismo" shows how a particular set of immigration policies and enforcement practices accelerated the rate of undocumented border crossings and expanded the reach of immigrant illegality. “I argue that as long as we fail to recognize the degree to which so-called "illegal" immigration is produced and reproduced through immigration law and its enforcement, authorized border crossings will continue to be criminalized and met with increasingly punitive removal and deportation measures,” he says.