Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Enrique Torres was born on July 15, 1929, in Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango, México; he was the second of six brothers; his father died when he was six years old; at an early age, he started working in agriculture; in 1952, he joined the Bracero Program, and worked in Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas; he picked carrots, green peppers, lemons, oranges, and tomatoes; he did these activities until 1959.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Torres grew up with his paternal relatives; he worked sowing beans and corn during his childhood; due to economic hardship and debts held by his family, he joined the Bracero Program in 1952; he worked in Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas; additionally, he describes how he found out about the program, and the hiring process he encountered at the processing center in Durango, Durango, México; at this center, he details the humiliation he experienced during the medical exams conducted by American doctors, and then he continues to outline his bus trip to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México; while at a bracero reception center in Texas, he signed a contract and went through the disinfection process; he narrates the daily activities of the braceros, their work distribution, their housing, and the food they prepared; furthermore, he relates how they were paid, their different contracts, and the treatment received from foremen; he remembers what the braceros did on weekends, and how prostitution was allowed in the camps; beyond these recollections, he explains how his life changed after being a bracero, why he decided to cross into the United States to become an undocumented worker in the 1970s, and why he believes the program should be reinstated.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Enrique Torres Sánchez by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1023," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.