Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Brijido Solíz was born October 8, 1925, in Hidalgo, México; his parents were field workers, and he had five siblings; although he was never formally educated, his father taught him how to work in the fields and care for animals; in 1955, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona and California until 1964; he had three children with his first wife in México; later, he immigrated to the United States where he remarried and had three more children; he ultimately became a citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Solíz talks about his family and what his life was like growing up; in 1955, he was living in Poza Rica [de Hidalgo], Veracruz, México, when he decided to enlist in the bracero program; at the time, he was working on an ejido, but he was not earning enough to make a living; he went to Mexicali, Baja California, México to begin the contracting process; upon crossing into the United States he was medically examined and fumigated; on some occasions, he was able to obtain a specialized workers contract, as a palmero, or date picker, which allowed him to go through the entire contracting process much more quickly; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona and California until 1964; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, working relationships, payments, remittances and recreational activities, including trips into town; his longest and best contract was in Coachella, California, as a palmero; during his time as a bracero, he learned to read and write in order to send letters home; he also explains that he earned very little money when he started, but by the end of his last contract, he was earning $1.25 an hour; he had three children with his first wife in México; later, he immigrated to the United States where he remarried and had three more children; he ultimately became a citizen; overall, he has positive memories of the program and is proud to have been a bracero.
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Interview with Brijido Solíz by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1258," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.