Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Gregorio de la Cruz was born on July 7, 1938, in Santa Ana, Sonora, México; his parents were seasonal field workers, and he had four brothers and two sisters; they grew up on the ejido where their parents worked, and as a child, he often helped his parents; he was formally educated through the second grade; in 1954, the family moved to a place just outside of Empalme, Sonora, México.
Summary of Interview
Mr. de la Cruz briefly discusses his family and childhood; in 1954, the family moved to a place just outside of Empalme, Sonora, México, where he learned about the bracero program; he could not find work in México at the time, and he decided to enlist in the program; to begin the process, he went to Empalme to pick cotton and get a card and his name on the list of available workers; from there, he had to wait to be called, which could happen anywhere from ten days to one month; he describes waiting in line to be fumigated and the other medical procedures he underwent; his first contract took him to Holtville, California, where he worked in the beet fields for forty-five days; he then went to Palo Verde, Arizona, for three months, to pick onions and potatoes and load trucks, which was especially difficult; later, he returned to the beet fields, but this time in Burbank, California; he explains how he used the short hoe, and he stayed there for three months; in addition, he went to Suisun [City] Arizona, for a short time, and picked tomatoes; his last contract took him to Salinas, California, for one month, to pick strawberries; while there, he worked between ten and twelve hours a day; he would send money home to his parents and wife as often as he could; when he first started working in California, he earned 80¢ per day, but he had to pay $3.00 per day for food; in Arizona, he earned $1.25 per hour, and the work was easier; he goes on to describe his life after the bracero program ended; he eventually emigrated to the United States with his wife.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Gregorio de la Cruz by Hugo Camacho, 2008, "Interview no. 1339," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.