Pineapples & America

Spring 2022

“PIneapples & america”

Nicole schmitz

The next time you go to the grocery store, a can of fruit may remind you that the history of some migrant worker communities goes unacknowledged in the way certain economic interests and exclusionary tactics have shaped immigration policies, creating fractured diasporas. For instance, in 1907, the Hawaiian Sugar Planter’s Association (HSPA) first began to recruit temporary workers from the Philippines, particularly from the Visayas and Ilocano region of Luxon — an endeavour that would last for the next thirty years — for the state’s pineapple and sugar plantations.[1]

Drawing men to the United States to work on three-year contracts
where, after Hawai’i, they would move on to the mainland United States or
return home — this ongoing supply of human labor would later be deemed as ‘exempt’ from the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 — only to stymie
larger Filipino immigration with the “Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934,” [2],
which acknowledged the Philippines’ new-found independence, explicitly
tied with ‘Filipino exclusion.’

In practice, this meant that the Act made sure that the Filipino laborers
to Hawaii were forbidden to step onto the shores of the United States,” [2]
leaving those who would otherwise migrate to the Mainland, or otherwise
leave to work in Alaskan fisheries, stranded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *