Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Aurelio L. Marin was born on July 27, 1941, in Tepechitlán, Zacatecas, México; he is the eldest of his five brothers and two sisters; he was formally educated for six years, and during that time he helped his father work the land and care for the animals; his father and two of his uncles worked as braceros; at the age of eighteen, he decided to follow in their footsteps with the hopes of earning enough money to return to México and buy land; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California, picking grapes, lettuce, and tomatoes; after the bracero program finished in 1964, he came to the United States as an undocumented worker; later in 1967, he was able to emigrate, and he was ultimately able to help the rest of his family do the same.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Marin recalls his father and uncles working as braceros; they would often tell him what life was like in the United States; at the age of eighteen, he decided to follow in their footsteps with the hopes of earning enough money to return to México and buy land; after receiving his military ID card and the required letter of recommendation, he went to Empalme, Sonora, México, but he had to pay money and pick cotton before being able to begin the contracting process; there were thousands of men waiting for a contract; the men were examined while there, but they were also given more comprehensive assessments upon arriving in the United States where they were consequently deloused; as a bracero, he worked throughout Arizona and California, picking grapes, lettuce, and tomatoes; he goes on to describe his various worksites, duties, housing, provisions, payment, treatment, remittances, and recreational activities; oftentimes, he was transferred to different locations, but he maintained employment with the same company; after the program ended, he was an undocumented worker for a few years, and he comments on how it was easier to work illegally than as a bracero; in 1967, he was able to emigrate to the United States, and he helped the rest of his family do the same.
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Interview with Aurelio L. Marin by Steve Velásquez, 2006, "Interview no. 1174," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.