Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Francisco de Casas M. was born April 10, 1929, on a large ranch named La Ermita de los Correas in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; he came from a family of agricultural workers and was the youngest of his six siblings; by the time he was five years old, he helped care for the animals and work the land; although he was formally educated, he never really liked school and often found himself in trouble; by his own admission, he did not learn very much; in 1948, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he worked in Arizona and California planting, watering, picking, and packing various fruits and vegetables; he and his family were ultimately able to legally immigrate to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Casas describes what it was like growing up on a ranch and how he helped with the land and the animals; he initially learned about the bracero program through people that would go to the ranches and charge roughly three hundred pesos to enlist people; in 1948, he enlisted as a bracero and went through a contracting center in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México; from there he traveled by bus to the border; he was later examined, which included getting x-rays and being deloused; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California planting, watering, picking, and packing various fruits and vegetables; he goes on to detail work hours, duties, living conditions, accommodations, provisions, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, recreational activities, and working relationships; in addition, he states that he did not eat the food when it was bad, but he did manage to stop by a commissary at the worksite and buy some milk and bread to eat before work; moreover, he discusses that there were times when women worked in the fields with the men cutting lettuce and strawberries or cleaning and pruning the crops; when he was twenty-five, he married and later had five children; he explains that two of them died in México, while he was working as a bracero; after the program ended, he returned to México; he and his family were able to legally immigrate to the United States.
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Interview with Francisco de Casas M. by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1148," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.