Verónica Cortez A.
Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Daniel Rodríguez Rea was born on January 6, 1936, in Jalpa, San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, Mexico; he had one sister; he attended school in Guanajuato for approximately four years ; in 1949, he began working in the cotton fields of Texas; while living in Mexicali, Mexico, he heard about a call for braceros; in 1954, he became a bracero and worked in the tomato and potato fields of Sacramento, California and in the beet fields of Imperial, California; his last contract was in August 1960; he did not return to Mexico.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Daniel Rodríguez Rea briefly talks about his hometown and working in agriculture; in 1949, he left his hometown and began working in the cotton fields of Texas; he eventually relocated to Mexicali, Mexico; in 1954, Mr. Daniel Rodríguez Rea went through the hiring process to become a bracero; he mentions going through the center of Mexicali, Mexico; he recalls the process was difficult and potential braceros were required to pay twenty-five dollars in order to get in line; he also describes the medical exams and required documents; as part of the process, he was medically examined and deloused in El Centro, California; his first contract took him to work in the tomato and potato fields of Sacramento, California; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, treatment, friendships, and recreational activities; he says that braceros initially contracted for forty-five days; after that time period, many braceros were sent back to Mexico and they had to go through the process again; his second contract took him to work in the beet fields of Imperial, California; he worked as an irrigator for six years; he states that U.S. immigration and unemployment agency officials visited the fields; the unemployment agency did not want braceros working as irrigators or heavy machine operators; Mr. Rodríguez Rea states that his boss had to employ Americans in order to satisfy the unemployment agency; he continued to do the work, but he was told to keep a short-handled hoe in hand; with the help of his boss, he became a legal United States resident; Mr. Rodríguez Rea concludes that he is very proud to have worked with the Bracero Program.
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Interview with Daniel Rodríguez Rea by Verónica Cortez A., 2006, "Interview no. 1313," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.