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This article explores the contradictions between the bracero program and the temporary labor program using German prisoners of war in the United States during World War II. Despite the bilateral agreement between Mexico and the United States aimed at protecting the braceros, "who came as allies," they remained alien workers and outsiders. In contrast, German prisoners of war, who came as enemies, were often transformed into personal friends "like our own boys." This article uses archival records, in-depth interviews with former prisoners of war, and secondary sources to analyze several structural factors that help explain these divergent outcomes.