Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Isaura Covarrubias was the third born of her fourteen siblings; she grew up with ten sisters and two brothers, because two of her siblings, twins, died when they were young; her father worked in agriculture, but it was not enough to support the family, which lead to his decision to enlist in the bracero program; he continued working with the program until 1960; Isaura helped raise her younger siblings; she later married when she was roughly seventeen years old and ultimately had eleven children; eventually, she immigrated to the United States and helped her father do the same.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Covarrubias talks about her childhood and early adolescence; her father worked in agriculture, but it was not enough to support their family of twelve, which lead to his decision to enlist in the bracero program; at the time, she was thirteen years old; she weeps at the memories of how much she and her family suffered while her father was gone; he endured a great deal as well and often told her stories; it was very difficult while waiting to obtain a contract, but it was often worse when he began laboring in the fields of the United States; he had to stay hunched over all day; the foremen were always hard on the braceros and told them they did not want posts so they could not stand; even so, he continued working with the program until 1960; during this time, Isaura helped raise her younger siblings; when her father was gone, they all lived a very restricted life; he sent whatever money he could, which was sometimes as little as $15.00 and as much as $30.00; with the money he sent home, the children were able to go to school; she did not like it very much and often suffered from headaches, which she attributed to the fact that she never ate very well; he once came home early by surprise, but she did not recognize him and tried to get him out of the house; she later married when she was roughly seventeen years old and ultimately had eleven children; eventually, she immigrated to the United States and helped her father do the same; unfortunately, he passed away soon after.
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Interview with Isaura Covarrubias by Susana Salgado, 2006, "Interview no. 1083," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.