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The INS on the LineMaking Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954$
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S. Deborah Kang

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757435.001.0001

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An Agency in Crisis

An Agency in Crisis

(p.87) 4 An Agency in Crisis
The INS on the Line

S. Deborah Kang

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 supplies a history of the Bracero Program and its implementation by the INS. Upon its inception in 1942, the United States and Mexico described the program in highly aspirational terms as an expression of the Good Neighbor policy. Yet it presented federal agencies such as the INS with the complex realities of implementing a binational agricultural employment program that led to the hiring of 4.5 million guest workers over the course of twenty-two years. Faced with an enduring shortage of money, manpower, and materiel to implement the Bracero Program, the INS in the 1940s was in a state of disarray. Local agency officials found themselves buffeted by competing pressures to carry out the agricultural employment, as well as immigration, duties surrounding the Bracero Program, and to simultaneously open the line to bracero workers and close it to undocumented immigrants.

Keywords:   Bracero Program, Good Neighbor, guest worker, agribusiness, farm labor, El Paso incident

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