Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Eduardo De Santiago was born on October 13, 1916, in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; he is the fifth of eight brothers and sisters; as a child, he helped his father work in the fields, and he stopped attending school when his father needed more help; he was an elected commissioner of his hometown, which made him responsible for compiling the lists of aspiring braceros for his area; his position led to him enlisting in the bracero program in 1954; as a bracero, he worked in Balmorhea, Texas, for six years, where he weighed and picked cotton; he legalized residency for himself and his family.
Summary of Interview
Mr. De Santiago grew up with his parents, who were agricultural workers, and his seven brothers and sisters; he describes his commissioner position and the way in which he came to enlist as a bracero, in 1954; he was transported from his hometown of Jerez, Zacatecas, México, to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, where he was examined and then transferred to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas; as a bracero, he worked in Balmorhea, Texas, for six years, where he weighed and picked cotton; in addition, he also learned to drive a tractor; he describes his close relationship with the grower, wages, duties, living and working arrangements, and recreational activities; furthermore, he explains how his family came to legalize their residency, which was not that difficult, because although he and his wife met in México, she was born in the United States; sometime after finishing his last contract, he worked at a chile and tomato farm in New Mexico, where he subsequently became the field boss; he concludes by discussing what the term bracero means to him and how happy he was to have worked with the program.
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Interview with Eduardo De Santiago by Mireya Loza, 2005, "Interview no. 1099," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.