Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Cayetano Vasquez was born on August 7, 1929, in Concepción del Oro, Zacatecas, México; his father was a farmer, and he owned the land he worked; as a teenager, Cayetano worked in the mines of his hometown; in 1951, he crossed into the United States illegally in order to work, and he was deported shortly thereafter; two years later, in 1953, he enlisted in the Bracero Program; as a bracero he worked picking various fruits and vegetables throughout the United States; he continued working with the program until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Vasquez briefly discusses his childhood and family; he recounts his time working in the mines of his hometown, in Concepción de Oro, Zacatecas, México; in 1951, he crossed into the United States illegally in order to work, and he was deported shortly thereafter; two years later, in 1953, he decided to enlist in the Bracero Program, and he traveled to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, to begin the process; after paying for the trip there, he had very little money left, and he had to wait two weeks before being hired; as a bracero he worked picking various fruits and vegetables throughout the United States; after each contract ended, he returned to México and began the hiring process all over again; he went through centers in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Empalme, Sonora, Hidalgo, Hidalgo, and Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; he goes on to describe the various places he worked as well as the range of jobs he performed; in addition, he comments on the contract amendments and lengths; he recalls working in Arkansas, and repeatedly being sent back and forth between there and Michigan; from 1958 to 1960, he worked primarily in California; in January of 1964, he was hired on his last contract, and he worked irrigating cotton fields.
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Interview with Cayetano Vasquez G. by Violeta Dominguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1064," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.