Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Francisco de Casas M. was born April 10, 1929, on a large ranch named La Ermita de los Correas in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; he came from a family of agricultural workers and was the youngest of his six siblings; by the time he was five years old, he helped care for the animals and work the land; although he was formally educated, he never really liked school and often found himself in trouble; by his own admission, he did not learn very much; in 1948, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he worked in Arizona and California planting, watering, picking, and packing various fruits and vegetables; he and his family were ultimately able to legally immigrate to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Casas describes what it was like growing up on a ranch and how he helped with the land and the animals; he initially learned about the bracero program through people that would go to the ranches and charge roughly three hundred pesos to enlist people; in 1948, he enlisted as a bracero and went through a contracting center in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México; from there he traveled by bus to the border; he was later examined, which included getting x-rays and being deloused; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California planting, watering, picking, and packing various fruits and vegetables; he goes on to detail work hours, duties, living conditions, accommodations, provisions, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, recreational activities, and working relationships; in addition, he states that he did not eat the food when it was bad, but he did manage to stop by a commissary at the worksite and buy some milk and bread to eat before work; moreover, he discusses that there were times when women worked in the fields with the men cutting lettuce and strawberries or cleaning and pruning the crops; when he was twenty-five, he married and later had five children; he explains that two of them died in México, while he was working as a bracero; after the program ended, he returned to México; he and his family were able to legally immigrate to the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Francisco de Casas M. by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1148," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.