Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Antonio Nuño was born May 1, 1927, in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, México; he had seventeen siblings, three of whom died before they were a year old; his parents worked in agriculture and were also business people; he went to school through the third grade while also working on a ranch; when he was ten years old, he began working at the family grocery store; later, he came to the United States without proper documentation, but shortly after he obtained a bracero contract in 1949; he continued with the program for ten years, and he labored primarily as a palmero and operating heavy machinery.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Nuño talks about his family and what his life was like growing up; he later married, and when he was roughly twenty years old, he and his wife moved to Mexicali, Baja California, México to be with her family; he began crossing into the United States to work without proper documentation, but shortly after he obtained a bracero contract in 1949 with the help of family friends; later, he had to go through the contracting process in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, where he was stripped, medically examined and deloused; he explains that he paid bribes to go through the process more quickly; he continued with the program for ten years, and he labored primarily as a palmero and operating heavy machinery; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, amenities, accommodations, provisions, duties, routines, payments, deductions, treatment, working relationships and recreational activities, including trips into town and religious services; Antonio also explains an incident in Coachella, California, where there was a misunderstanding with his bosses wife that led to him getting fired; during his last three years as a bracero, he continually had problems with immigration officials, because they did not want him driving tractors; these difficulties are what ultimately led him to arrange for legal status with the help of his employer; he also relates several other anecdotes about his time as a bracero; overall, he has positive memories of the program, because he was able to save money, have a better life and ultimately immigrate to the United States.
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Interview with Antonio Nuño by Annette Shreibati, 2009, "Interview no. 1233," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.