THE BRACERO PROGRAM
The most popular use of the term bracero (from the Spanish brazo, which translates as "arm") applies to the temporary agricultural and railroad workers brought into the United States as an emergency measure to meet the labor shortage of World War II. The Bracero Program, also referred to as the Mexican Farm Labor Supply Program and the Mexican Labor Agreement, was sanctioned by Congress through Public Law 45 of 1943.
PUBLIC LAW 45, 1943
April 29, 1943 [H.J. Res. 96]
[Public Law 45]
Making an appropriation to assist in providing a supply and distribution of farm labor for the calendar year of 1943.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $26,100,000, to remain available until December 31, 1943, to be expended by the Administrator of Food Production and Distribution (hereinafter referred to as the "Administrator"), appointed pursuant to Executive Order Numbered 9322, dated March 26, 1943, for assisting in providing an adequate supply of workers for the production and harvesting of agricultural commodities essential to the prosecution of the war, as follows.
PAYMENTS TO STATES
Sec. 2. (a) For the purpose of assisting in providing an adequate supply of workers for the production and harvesting of agricultural commodities within the several States, the Administrator shall apportion among the several States, on the basis of need, not less than $9,000,000 and not more than $13,050,000 of the sum appropriated by section 1 and the sums so apportioned shall be available for payment to such States for expenditure by the agricultural extension services of the land-grant colleges in such States in accordance with such agreements as may be entered into by the Administrator and such extension services and subject to the supervision of the Administrator. The purposes for which such funds may be expended by such extension services shall include, among other things, (1) the recruiting, placement (including the placement of workers as tenants or share-croppers), and training of such workers; (2) transportation, supervision, subsistence, protection, health and medical and burial services, and shelter for such workers and their families and necessary personal property; (3) lease, repair, alteration, and operation of labor supply centers and other necessary facilities and services, including former Civilian Conservation Corps camps; (4) advancing to workers of sums due from employers within the United States who are under contractual obligation to reimburse such extension services for such advances; (5) employment of personnel and other administrative expenses; and (6) payment to or reimbursement of other public or private agencies or individuals for furnishing services or facilities for such purposes. Such extension services may enter into agreements with other public and private agencies and individuals and utilize the facilities and services of such agencies and individuals in carrying out the purposes of this section.
(b) The Administrator shall certify to the Secretary of the Treasury, from time to time, the amounts to be paid to each State under this section and the time or times such amounts are to be paid; and the Secretary of the Treasury shall pay to the State, at the time or times fixed by the Administrator, the amounts so certified.
EXPENDITURE OF OTHER FUNDS
SEC.3. (a) Not more than $13,050,000 of the funds appropriated by section 1 and not apportioned by the Administrator among the several States pursuant to section 2 shall be available for expenditure by the Administrator. The purposes for which such funds may be expended shall include, among other things, (1) the recruiting and transportation of workers and their families and necessary personal property, within the United States and elsewhere; (2) furnishing, by loans or otherwise, of health and medical and burial services, training, subsistence, allowance, protection, and shelter for such workers and their families; (3) advancing to workers of sums due from employers within the United States who are under contractual obligation to reimburse the United States for such advances; (4) other necessary facilities and services; and (5) operating personnel and expenses to carry out the above purposes.
(b) Not more than 2 per centum of the funds appropriated by section 1 hereof shall be available for administrative expenses of the Administrator, including (1) the employment of persons and organizations, by contract or otherwise, at the seat of government and elsewhere; (2) purchase, exchange, operation, and maintenance of passenger-carrying vehicles; (3) printing and binding; (4) travel expenses of persons employed in administrative, supervisory, or facilitating capacities within a foreign country or from a foreign country to the United States and return, including such expenses to first-duty stations; and (5) payment to or reimbursement of other agencies or individuals for administrative expenses incurred by them.
(c) For the purpose of this joint resolution, the Administrator is authorized--
(1) to utilize the facilities, services, and personnel of units and agencies within the Department of Agriculture; to enter into agreements with other public or private agencies or individuals; to utilize (pursuant to such agreements) the facilities and services of such agencies and individuals and to delegate to them funds to (in addition to the transfers authorized by the Department of Agriculture Appropriation Acts for the fiscal years 1943 and 1944), or otherwise to pay or reimburse such units, agencies, and individuals for expenses in connection therewith;
(2) to accept and utilize voluntary and uncompensated services and
(3) to cooperate with the Secretary of State in the negotiation of renegotiation of agreements with foreign governments relating to the importation of workers into the United States.
SEC. 4. (a) No part of the funds herein appropriated shall be expended for the transportation of any worker from the county where he resides or is working to a place of employment outside of such county without the prior consent in writing of the county extension agent of such county, if such worker has resided in such county for a period of one year or more immediately prior thereto and has been engaged in agricultural labor as his principal occupation during such period.
(b) No part of the funds herein appropriated, or heretofore appropriated or made available to any department or agency of the Government for the recruiting, transportation, or placement of agricultural workers, shall be used directly or indirectly to fix, regulate, or impose minimum wages or housing standards, to regulate hours of work, or to impose or enforce collective-bargaining requirements or union membership, with respect to any agricultural labor, except with respect to workers imported into the United States from a foreign country and then only to the extent required to comply with agreements with the government of such foreign country: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall prevent the expenditure of such funds in connection with the negotiation of agreements with employers of agricultural workers which may provide that prevailing wage rates shall be paid for particular crops and areas involved and that shelter shall be provided for such workers.
SEC. 5. (a) Funds appropriated by this joint resolution may be expended without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes.
(b) Any payments made by the United States or other public or private agencies or employers to aliens brought into the United States under this joint resolution shall not be subject to deduction or with-holding under section 143 (b) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(c) For the purpose of this joint resolution--
(1) the term "State" includes Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico;
(2) the term "worker" includes nationals of the United States and aliens;
(3) the term "agricultural labor" includes any services or activities included within the provisions of section 3 (f) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or section 1426 (h) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(d) Effective July 1, 1943, notwithstanding section 3 of the Act of June 29, 1936 (U.S.C., title 40, sec. 433), receipts derived for the account of the United States from the use and occupancy of agricultural labor supply centers, including camps and facilities heretofore used by or under the control of the Farm Security Administration, shall be deposited in the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.
(e) The former civilian Conservation Corps camps shall be transferred without charge to the Administrator, to the extent that he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this joint resolution: Provided, That no such camp which is being utilized by any other agency of the Government, or which has been transferred to any State, county, municipality, or nonprofit organization, shall be transferred to the Administrator under this subsection without the consent of such agency, State, county, municipality, or organization.
(f) Notwithstanding provisions of title I of the Social Security Act, as amended (relating to grants to States for old-age assistance), and of appropriations for payments thereunder, in any case in which any State pays old-age assistance to any individual at a rate not in excess of the rate of old-age assistance paid to such individual during the month of April 1943, any failure to take into consideration any income and resources of such individual arising from agricultural labor performed by him as an employee, or from labor otherwise performed by him in connection with the raising or harvesting of agricultural commodities, after the date of enactment of this joint resolution and prior to the seventh calendar month occurring after the termination of hostilities in the present war, as proclaimed by the President, shall not be a basis of excluding payments made to such individuals in computing payments made to States under section 3 of such title, of refusing to approve a State plan under section 2 of such title, or of withholding certification pursuant to section 4 of such title.
(g) In order to facilitate the employment by agricultural employers in the United States of native-born residents of North America, South America, and Central America, and the islands adjacent thereto, desiring to perform agricultural labor in the United States during continuation of hostilities in the present war, any such resident desiring to enter the United States for that purpose shall be exempt from the payment of head tax required by Section 2 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917, and from other admission charges, and shall be exempt from those excluding provisions of Section 3 of such Act which relate to contract laborers, the requirements of literacy, and the payment of passage by corporations, foreign governments, or others; and any such residents shall be admitted to perform agricultural labor in the United States for such time and under such conditions (but not including the exaction of bond to insure ultimate departure from the United States) as may be required by regulations prescribed by the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization with the approval of the Attorney General; and in the event such regulations require documentary evidence of the country of birth of any such resident which he is unable to furnish, such requirement may be waived by the admitting officer of the United States if such official has other proof satisfactory to him that such resident is a native of the country claimed as his birthplace. Each such resident shall be provided with an identification card (with his photograph and fingerprints) to be prescribed under such regulations which shall be in lieu of all other documentary requirements, including the registration at time of entry or after entry required by the Alien Registration Act of 1940. Any such resident admitted under the foregoing provisions who fails to maintain the status for which he was admitted or to depart from the United States in accordance with the terms of his admission shall be taken into custody under a warrant issued by the Attorney General at any time after entry and deported in accordance with Section 20 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917. Sections 5 and 6 of such Act shall not apply to the importation of aliens under this joint resolution. No provisions of this joint resolution shall authorize the admission into the United States of any enemy alien.
Approved April 29, 1943