Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Antonio Nuño was born May 1, 1927, in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, México; he had seventeen siblings, three of whom died before they were a year old; his parents worked in agriculture and were also business people; he went to school through the third grade while also working on a ranch; when he was ten years old, he began working at the family grocery store; later, he came to the United States without proper documentation, but shortly after he obtained a bracero contract in 1949; he continued with the program for ten years, and he labored primarily as a palmero and operating heavy machinery.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Nuño talks about his family and what his life was like growing up; he later married, and when he was roughly twenty years old, he and his wife moved to Mexicali, Baja California, México to be with her family; he began crossing into the United States to work without proper documentation, but shortly after he obtained a bracero contract in 1949 with the help of family friends; later, he had to go through the contracting process in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, where he was stripped, medically examined and deloused; he explains that he paid bribes to go through the process more quickly; he continued with the program for ten years, and he labored primarily as a palmero and operating heavy machinery; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, amenities, accommodations, provisions, duties, routines, payments, deductions, treatment, working relationships and recreational activities, including trips into town and religious services; Antonio also explains an incident in Coachella, California, where there was a misunderstanding with his bosses wife that led to him getting fired; during his last three years as a bracero, he continually had problems with immigration officials, because they did not want him driving tractors; these difficulties are what ultimately led him to arrange for legal status with the help of his employer; he also relates several other anecdotes about his time as a bracero; overall, he has positive memories of the program, because he was able to save money, have a better life and ultimately immigrate to the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Antonio Nuño by Annette Shreibati, 2009, "Interview no. 1233," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.