Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Benito Fierro was born on March 20, 1932, in Julimes, Chihuahua, México; he was the third of nine brothers to be born, and they all learned the agricultural trade from their father; in 1953, he became a bracero; his primary duties in Texas and New Mexico were picking and irrigating cotton crops; in Montana and Colorado, he cleaned and pulled sugar beets; he continued working as a bracero until 1961.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Fierro recounts his childhood and the difficulties he and his family faced; he describes the various stages of the hiring process, including the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and the medical examinations he underwent at Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas; as a bracero, his work included the following: picking and irrigating cotton crops, picking peas, harvesting lettuce, pulling sugar beets, and cleaning the fields in which they grew; he explains the different wages he received for the various jobs he performed and what he did when his contracts expired; in addition he recounts his experiences when he was sick; he goes on to detail what life was like for him and others on the farms, including what their food was like, what their hobbies were, and what they often did on weekends and in their spare time; furthermore, he concludes that he was grateful to have worked as a bracero and how much that had an impact on not only him, but his family as well; working as a bracero helped him obtain legal residency and ultimately citizenship in the United States.
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Interview with Benito Fierro by Laureano Martinez, 2003, "Interview no. 1127," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.