Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Luis Barozio Ceja was born on May 5, 1923, in Nicolás Romero, Michoacán, México; his parents worked in agriculture on an hacienda, but they later obtained their own ejido; he was formally educated and even studied as a veterinarian at the university in México, Distrito Federal; later, during the early forties, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he continued to work on and off as a bracero until the program ended in 1964; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Texas picking various fruits and vegetables; during the early seventies, he was an undocumented worker in the United States, but he later returned to México, where he settled with his family.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Barozio talks about his family and what life was like growing up; he also chronicles the movement from working as peons to owning a small piece of land on an ejido; during the early forties, while studying as a veterinarian at the university in México, Distrito Federal, he ran out of money, and he decided to enlist in the bracero program; he describes the medical exams he underwent as part of the contracting process; because he had been a student up until he enlisted, he took a number of his books with him when crossing into the United States, which were all rigorously inspected; in his opinion, this was due to intense censorship during the war; even letters were censored; as a bracero, he worked on and off in the fields of California and Texas picking various fruits and vegetables until the program ended in 1964; he goes on to detail the various worksites, living, housing, amenities, treatment, correspondence, friendships and recreational activities; in addition, he recalls that even as a bracero, he had to use rationing stamps to purchase goods; Luis also mentions that his brother, although undocumented, enlisted to fight in the war; his brother consequently gained citizenship; between contracts, Luis stayed with his brother for a few years in Michigan; during the early seventies, Luis was an undocumented worker in the United States, but he later returned to México, where he settled with his family.
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Interview with Luis Barozio Ceja by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1428," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.