Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jesus Hernandez was born on August 28, 1920, in San Felipe, Guanajuato, México; he had eight siblings, and together they grew up with their parents on a farm; at a very young age, he began helping his father work the land and care for the animals; he never received any formal schooling; in 1944, he went to México, Distrito Federal, to begin the enrollment process for the Bracero Program; two years later, after his contract expired, he crossed into Texas illegally in order to work; in 1958, he was contracted again as a bracero, and he worked in California.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Hernandez briefly recounts his childhood and adolescence growing up on a farm; he would often help his father work the land and care for the animals; in 1944, he went to México, Distrito Federal, to begin the enrollment process for the Bracero Program; he describes the processing center and the various procedures he underwent there, including the medical exams and the train trip to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México; as a bracero, he picked cotton as well as a range of fruits and vegetables; he goes on to describe his daily routine, the living arrangements, what he did during his free time, the medical benefits, and the overall treatment he received; one of his employers even offered to arrange for him to stay in the United States permanently, but he refused; he instead returned to México, and shortly thereafter he was married; later in 1946, he entered the U.S. illegally through Texas, and he stayed for a year; in 1949, he again returned, but was caught by immigration officials and sent back to México; several years later in 1958, he went through the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and he worked in California; he was ultimately able to emigrate to the U.S. with his wife and children.
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Interview with J. Jesus Hernandez Medrano by Anais Acosta, 2005, "Interview no. 1101," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.