The history of the Maquila Industry is a byproduct of the Bracero Program, which allowed millions of Mexican male workers to come to the United States on short-term, seasonal labor contracts, primarily in the agriculture sector. Created in 1942, this program was conceived as a solution to the labor shortages due to World War II. Between the years 1942 and 1964, there were an estimated 4.6 million signed contracts making it the largest U.S. contract labor program.
When the Bracero Program ended in 1964, the Mexican Government launched the Border Industrialization Program (BIP), also known as the Maquiladora Program, to combat rising unemployment along the U.S. and Mexico border. In the early 1980’s, U.S. businesses were beginning to lose the competitive advantage over their Asian competitors, forcing many U.S. based manufacturers to seek lower labor costs.