In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the Bracero Program brought thousands of Mexican workers into the Arkansas delta to address labor shortages. This was an early federally-sponsored program for Mexican farm workers.
Although white landowners welcomed them, Juan Crow and Jim Crow existed side-by-side as Mexican workers suffered from and fought against the prevalent racial and ethnic discrimination prevalent in the region. Braceroes challenged discrimination and the economic exploitation that underpinned it. One particularly successful campaign resulted in the establishment of the first minimum wage for farm workers in the Arkansas Delta, something that had been fiercely resisted in the past and from which both black and white farmers reaped the benefits.
After the farm program ended, some braceros became permanent legal residents, bringing their families to the state. More recently, Latinos have moved to northwest Arkansas in record numbers, fueled by the growth of jobs in the poultry industry. This part of the state now has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the country.
Little Rock is one of a small number of cities in the United States that is home to a Mexican Consulate.