Modal close

Hi there,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. You need news that isn't being paid for by campaigns or corporations. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on your support. Right now, every new monthly sustaining donation to Democracy Now! will be tripled by a generous supporter. That means if you can give just $4 a month, Democracy Now! gets $12 today.  Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, start your monthly contribution today. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


Exploiting Migrant Labor: What the U.S., Israel and the Old South Africa Have in Common

StoryFebruary 19, 2001
Default content image
Close circle
Media Options

President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox met last week and Friday pledged a full, mature and equitablepartnership of prosperity, heralding a new day in their two countries’ relations.

As a first step, the presidents launched formal negotiations to develop a broad framework for addressing thecontentious issue of immigration — including a possible guest worker, or bracaro, program for temporary migrantworkers.

Their mandate, the presidents said at their summit at the Fox family ranch in central Mexico, is to create “an orderlyframework for migration that ensures humane treatment and legal security, and dignifies labor conditions.”

But the program is anything but humane or dignifying. Mexican workers will likely be allowed to work in the UnitedStates for one year only, and then will be forced back to Mexico. Because they will be under constant threat ofdeportation, workers will not be able to organize effectively for better working conditions or wages. The workers willbe forced to leave their families in Mexico, to fend for themselves. In all, the program seems more a product of theeconomic interests of employers, combined with anti-immigrant ideology, than an attempt to create a humane frameworkfor migration.

Today we will look at how the bracero worker program between the United States and Mexico would work and how suchprograms have worked in the past. But we will also look to Israel and South Africa, two countries which have gainedinternational notoriety for their exploitation of migrant labor.


  • David Bacon, labor journalist, photographer, and radio producer at Pacifica Station KPFK in Berkeley,California
  • Sarah Roy, research associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, author of ??The GazaStrip: The Political Economy of De-Development.
  • Anne Mager, Professor of History at the University of Cape Town and long-time ANC activist; author of??Gender and the Making of the South African Bantustans.


Related Story

Video squareStorySep 18, 2018Intercept Report Reveals Senate Ignored Federal Court Employees Willing to Testify Against Kavanaugh
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Up arrowTop