While the White House, Congress and outside groups debate the details of what the exact shape of the country's immigration system will be, an article from ABC-Univision details three shocking examples that make clear any legislation addressing the topic must include protections for temporary workers brought to the United States.
The first story is of the Bracero Program that began during World War II and ran through 1964. The idea was to bring temporary agricultural workers into the country and eventually grew to bring in 400,000 workers annually. While the program had protections written into the law that created it, they were ignored and workers faced tough conditions, including substandard living conditions that led to men sleeping in stables and chicken coops.
In 1986, a group of sugar cane workers in Okeelanta, Fla., participated in a work stoppage—common at the time—to bargain for better pay. According to College of William and Mary history professor Cindy Hahamovitch, the sheriff was called in by the company employing the workers, Flo-Sun, to break up the strike and about 350 workers were rounded up and deported.
The third story involved Indian workers who came in 2006 and 2007 to work for Signal International in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The New York Times and other sources reported that the workers were recruited under false promises of permanent residency while paying large sums for visas that totaled more than $24,000, in some cases. Many of the workers also reported being abused on the job.
Visit the full article to read more details about these terrible stories.
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