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Rio Vista Farm receives grant to develop first ever Bracero Museum in Socorro, Texas

Braceros wait in line at the Rio Vista Bracero Reception Center in Socorro, Texas
Rio Vista Farm
Kip Malone and the NTHP
Rio Vista Bracero Reception Center in Socorro, Texas

SOCORRO, Texas – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $750,000 grant from their Humanities in Place Program to support a Bracero Museum and Rio Vista Connections Tour at Rio Vista Farm in Socorro. Rio Vista is regarded as being nationally significant for its contributions to the Bracero Program, which was in place from 1942 to 1964—officially known as the Mexican Farm Labor Program, with Rio Vista being the processing center.

The grant will be used for the Bracero Museum Project that includes the rehabilitation of one building at the farm that will house the museum exhibits. The goal is to provide a multimedia-rich tour presenting the challenges and history of braceros and their contribution to the border area. More than two million guest workers received contracts between 1951 and 1964 at Rio Vista Farm through the Bracero Program. It was one of only five long-term centers along the United States-Mexico border. Today, it is believed to be the last standing center on either side of the border.

According to the City of Socorro Community Initiative, the program's impact on national migration patterns is traced to the US Latino populations in Texas and the Western parts of the nation. Employers often helped braceros obtain their legal residency due to their strong work ethic. Decedents of those braceros settled in the Socorro area. The initiative is a public charity organization established to secure public and private funding for Socorro's various public, charitable, and education programs.

The National Park Service nominated Rio Vista Farm for a National Historic Landmark designation. The nomination was unanimously approved in October of 2021. The Rio Vista Bracero Reception Center is now a National Historic Landmark. This is the highest designation in the United States and is reserved only for those sites or buildings with extraordinary historical significance. There is only one other such landmark site in El Paso County. Hueco Tanks received the designation back in January of 2021.

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Yvonne Suarez


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