Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Juan H. Perez was born November 30, 1925, in San Francisco del Rincón, Guanajuato, México; his parents were campesinos on their own land; he was never formally educated, because there was no money for him to go to school; when he was sixteen years old, he came to the United States to work without proper documentation; he waited until he was old enough to enlist in the bracero program; when he was twenty-five years old, he married; his first wife died, and he later remarried in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Perez briefly talks about his family; he initially learned about the bracero program when he was fourteen years old, but he was not old enough to enlist; instead, he decided to come to the United States to work without proper documentation when he was sixteen years old; his grandmother lived on the border between Mexicali, Baja California, México and Calexico, California, which was how he crossed over; with the money he earned he was able to help his parents and siblings in México; once he was old enough, he enlisted as a bracero; when he crossed into the United States, he was stripped and deloused, which he remembers as very sad; before going out to the fields for work he and the other men were fed; on Sundays, his day off, he often went to church while others went to bars; he describes his interactions with others as very reserved, as though they were in a school; if they behaved, they were treated well; after his time as a bracero, he returned to México; oftentimes, he spoke with other men about their experiences with the program and what life was like for them; when he was twenty-five years old, he married; his first wife died, and he later remarried in the United States.
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Interview with Juan H. Perez by Mireya Loza, 2006, "Interview no. 1237," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.