Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Tiburcio Delgado Garfia was born in Huaniqueo, Michoacán, México, on November 14, 1935; he was the eldest of his fifteen siblings, but one of his brothers passed away; his parents were campesinos on their own plot of land; he went to school for a short time, but he began working with his parents by the time he was roughly eight years old; he later enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of California, Montana and New Mexico, picking beets, cantaloupe, chile, cotton, green beans, pumpkins and strawberries.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Delgado briefly discusses his family; some of his relatives and neighbors enlisted in the bracero program; his uncles returned to México with enough money to buy land and animals; he decided to join the program in the hope of providing more for his wife; Tiburcio offers a detailed description of the process to get on the list of eligible workers; moreover, in order to enlist, the men had to pay between four and five hundred pesos; he had to give up part of his land in order to get a loan to enroll in the program; later, when men began using coyotes, they easily paid over one thousand pesos; as part of the contracting process, he endured long lines on top of being stripped, deloused and generally treated poorly; he also comments that the Mexican government was paid thirty dollars for each bracero by the American government; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of California, Montana and New Mexico, picking beets, cantaloupe, chile, cotton, green beans, pumpkins and strawberries; he goes on to detail various work sites, camp sizes, provisions, treatment, duties, payment, deductions, remittances, correspondence and recreational activities; in addition, he recalls that Salinas, California was his favorite place to work, because he could go to church on Sundays; he also mentions that while there, some men went on strike for better pay; those not on strike, including himself, were paid more; in 1959, he stopped working as a bracero and returned to México; he goes on to explain his involvement in local organizations for campesinos, like Bracero PROA.
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Interview with Tiburcio Delgado Garfia by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1432," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.