Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

First Reader

Martin Anderson, PhD

Second Reader

Christian Dean, PhD


This thesis explores America’s treatment of the Mexican worker in the United States between 1942 and 1964, the years in which an international guest worker agreement between the United States and Mexico informally known as the Bracero Program was in place, and one in which heightened fears of illegal immigration resulted in Operation Wetback, one of the largest deportation programs in U.S. history. The Mexican worker’s experience during the bracero era brings to light core traits of American national identity, such as xenophobia and ethnocentrism, that today obstruct the United States’ ability to resolve its currently conflicted relationship with the Mexican worker.