Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
J. Jesus Gomez L. grew up on a ranch near Guadalajara, Jalisco, México; when he was sixteen years old, he came to the United States without documents and worked in Texas for a year and a half; during the early 1950s, he returned to the United States with the bracero program, and he labored in the fields of California; he eventually married in 1952, and he and his wife had twelve children in total; seven were born in México, and five were born in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Gomez talks about coming to the United States without documents and working in Texas for a year and a half when he was sixteen years old; later, during the 1950s, he returned to the United States with the bracero program; he talks about what he endured in order to obtain a bracero contract, including physical exams and delousing procedures; the men who did not pass the exams were sent back; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, provisions, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities, including trips into town; after his first contract ended, he returned to México and eventually married in 1952; four years later, he had two daughters but not enough money, so he decided to obtain a new bracero contract; while in Blythe, California, he caught a cold and was given an injection, which made him feel better; another man was also given an injection, but it made him go crazy; no one could find him, and there was no way to notify his family; Jesús also recalls that some men had been in the United States for several years without ever writing or sending money to their wives, yet they remained single and hopeful at the thought of returning home to their families; Jesús and his wife went on to have twelve children in total, seven in México and five in the United States; he talks about his children and how they helped him immigrate to the United States; overall, he has positive memories of working with the program.
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Interview with J. Jesus Gomez L. by Mireya Loza, 2006, "Interview no. 1074," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.