Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Leal was born on March 9, 1922, in Aldama, Chihuahua, México; he has four sisters and five brothers; when he was seven years old, his mother died; as a child, he helped his father care for the animals they owned; consequently, he was formally educated only through the third grade; he worked with the bracero program from 1951 to 1960; as a bracero, he worked in New Mexico and Texas, picking crops, irrigating, and driving tractors.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Leal briefly discusses his early childhood and family; in 1951, he enlisted in the bracero program; he describes going through Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, and the various procedures he underwent while there; as a bracero, he worked in New Mexico and Texas, picking crops, irrigating, and driving tractors; he goes on to describe wages, working and living conditions, provisions, recreational activities, and the medical attention received when necessary; in addition, he explains the range of interactions with fellow braceros, employers, immigration personnel, and consul representatives; he continued working with the program until 1960; in the early eighties, he returned to the United States as an undocumented worker; by the mideighties, however, he was able to arrange residency for himself and his family; he concludes by reflecting on the bracero program overall and how it affected his life.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Manuel Leal by Rosy Chivardi, 2005, "Interview no. 1086," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.