Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Higinio López was born January 11, 1926, in Calvillo, Aguascalientes, México; his mother’s name was Félix Silva, and his father’s name was Sixto López; Higinio had five brothers and two sisters; his formal education extended through the fourth grade; he worked in the United States without proper documentation for roughly three years; during the early 1950s, he married and shortly after enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields cleaning, pruning and picking various crops; in 1961, his employer helped him legally immigrate to the United States; Higinio helped his wife and two children do the same; he and his wife went on to have five more children.
Summary of Interview
Mr. López talks about his family and what his life was like growing up on a ranch; in 1947, he came to work in the United States without proper documentation; after three years, immigration officials sent him back to México; during the early 1950s, he married and started raising a family; by the time he enlisted in the bracero program he had two children; he went through the contracting center in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México; oftentimes, he went with groups of other men so the process would not be as bad; even so, he describes crossing into the United States as very difficult and sad, especially the fumigation procedures; as a bracero, he labored in the fields cleaning, pruning and picking various crops; he goes on to detail camp sizes, housing, provisions, routines, payments, deductions, remittances, correspondence, contract lengths and renewals and recreational activities, including trips into town; for a time, he worked with one of his brothers; Higinio relates the story of how his twenty-seven year old brother died in an accident with a crop dusting airplane; his employers waited for fifteen days to bury him, because they wanted his father to see him; he was eventually laid to rest in Brawley, California; in 1961, his employer helped him legally immigrate to the United States; Higinio helped his wife and two children do the same; he and his wife went on to have five more children; overall, he has positive memories of having worked with the program.
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Interview with Higinio López by Grisel Murillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1068," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.