Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jose Aguilar was born in Casa Blanca Michoacán, México; he was one of the youngest of eleven siblings; his parents worked the fields where he grew up; he also began working in the fields and with the animals at a very young age and consequently dropped out of school; later, in 1959 he became a bracero and worked the lettuce, beetroot, cucumber, and tomato fields on different cities in Arizona and California; after finishing his last contract he remained in the United States until he was able to become an American citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Aguilar talks about his hometown and what life was growing up working in agriculture with his family; he recalls that his father and two of his brothers were bracero workers; in 1954, he came to work illegally to the United States; in 1959 he officially went through the process of being a bracero; he briefly describes the hiring process, including the harsh conditions they had to endure and the medical examinations; as a bracero he completed several contracts where he labored in lettuce, beetroot, green beans, tomato, and cucumber fields, in Arizona, and different cities in California; in addition, he describes the living conditions, payments, friendships, treatment, correspondence, transportation, and recreational activities with the other braceros; after finishing his last contract he remained in the United States until, with the help of his boss, he was able to become an American citizen; Mr. Aguilar concludes that that the experience had a very positive impact in his life.
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Interview with Jose Aguilar by Mario Sifuentes, 2006, "Interview no. 1203," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.