Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Isidro M. Peña was born on May 15, 1937, in Rancho de Peñas, in the municipality of Satevó, Chihuahua, México; he was the eldest of his nine siblings; when he was nine years old, he and his family moved to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, where he worked odd jobs whenever he could; later, in 1957, he enrolled in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he picked cotton in Texas and New Mexico, and continued to do so until 1961.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Peña describes his early adolescence and the various kinds of work he did; in 1957, he decided he wanted to work as a bracero; the first thing he had to do was pay someone to put his name on the county’s list of people to be called as workers; he then went to El Trocadero, a processing center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, in order to officially begin the hiring process for the program; after this, he was transported from Chihuahua to the border by train and then taken to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, where he was medically examined; he goes on to describe his first job picking cotton, the wages he received, the living conditions on the farms where he lived, the food they cooked and ate, their hobbies, and what they did on weekends and in their spare time; in addition, he also explains how braceros were able to extend their working contracts without having to leave the country; years later, he became a United States resident.
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Interview with Isidro M. Peña by Laureano Martinez, 2003, "Interview no. 1137," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.