Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Marcelino Burcíaga was born on September 24, 1938, in Canatlan, Durango, México; his father was a carpenter and a shoemaker; he is the youngest of three brothers; from 1961 to 1962, he worked as a bracero in California picking cucumbers, green beans, lemons, and oranges.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Burcíaga recalls growing up in Canatlan, Durango, México; he states that his father was a carpenter and a shoemaker; at an early age, he began working in agriculture; he states that in 1961 he decided to join the bracero program because of financial difficulties; he describes being contracted in Mexicali, Baja California, México and being sent to Empalme, Sonora, México for processing; while in Empalme, he states that he was given thorough medical exams; he details the treatment he received in that center, and then he explains how he was transported to the United States-México border; once he became a bracero, he worked in California picking cucumbers, green beans, lemons, and oranges from 1961 to 1962; furthermore, he relates what a typical workday was for him as a bracero, the type of work that he did, and how he was treated by foremen; he also discusses the pay he received for his labor and the food he was given; moreover, he states what he did for recreation, and how he would spend his days off doing laundry and going to the movies; he remembers saving money and having ten percent of his pay deducted from each paycheck; he concludes by explaining what the program meant for him.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Marcelino Burcíaga by Mario Sifuentez, 2006, "Interview no. 1209," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.