Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising Mexican Immigration to the United States in the 1930s

The Great Depression in the United States had a far-reaching global impact. Before 1929, the majority of Mexico's crops were exported to the United States but the decline in trade resulted in many job losses in Mexico. Many Mexican farmers emigrated to the United States in hopes of a better future, but found a similarly dire situation.

Unemployment was sweeping the United States. Coupled with the Dust Bowl storms destroying crops in the Midwest, many Mexican immigrants faced antagonism from Americans who were competing for dwindling jobs in farming. To combat workplace hostility and job shortages, American immigration officials began to crack down on illegal (and legal) immigrants - many were deported (as is the situation in Esperanza Rising).

The market changed again after World War II. The United States faced a labor shortage because many American men were fighting overseas in Europe and Japan. To fill the open agricultural positions, the United States enacted the Bracero Program in 1942. The temporary labor program was hugely successful and many Mexican farmhands were dispatched all over the United States.