Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jose Gamez was born on February 17, 1927, in Francisco Amauro, Coahuila, México; two years later, he moved to Valle de Juárez, and was raised by his grandfather; in 1943, he began working as a bracero; he worked in the cotton fields of Tornillo, Texas and La Union, New Mexico.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Gamez briefly recalls his childhood and early adolescence; in 1942, he came to the United States illegally to work in the fields; it was while working illegally that he learned of the Bracero Program from other ranchers and workers; when he was initially recruited to work as a bracero, in 1943, neither a physical exam nor formal paperwork was required; he recalls that women and under aged boys were allowed to work as braceros if they were accompanied by adult males; his contract ended in 1945, and he was forced to go back to working illegally; in 1947, under aged boys and women were no longer allowed to work as braceros; the following year in 1948, there was what he called, free entrance, where anyone who wanted to work as a bracero could; as a consequence of World War II, basic foods like meat were sometimes difficult to find; he also recounts instances of discrimination against braceros.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Jose Gamez by Myrna Parra-Mantilla, 2003, "Interview no. 1128," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.