Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Juan Rosanes was born September 15, 1935, on a small ranch in Vista Hermosa, Michoacán, México; he had nine brothers and two sisters; although he was never formally educated, he did learn how to read; as a young boy, he helped care for goats; when he was seventeen years old, he came to the United States without documents and worked picking cotton in Texas; he eventually enlisted in the bracero program, and he labored in the fields of California and Michigan, picking cucumbers, grapes, lemons, oranges and tomatoes; later, he was able to obtain legal status in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Rosanes briefly talks about his family and what his life was like growing up; for a brief time, he worked in the United States without proper documentation; later, he picked cotton in Sonora, México, to obtain the necessary papers to enlist in Empalme, Sonora, México, where he was medically examined; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Michigan, picking cucumbers, grapes, lemons, oranges and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, friendships, payments and recreational activities, including trips into town; on occasion, Mexican officials visited the camps to ensure adequate treatment; immigration officials also went to the camps regularly, and men without documents often worked alongside the braceros; while in Tracy, California, the men went fishing at a nearby river on their days off; in addition, he explains that he spent the most time working in Ontario, California; his employer arranged to help him obtain legal status, and his visa came through while he was working in Michigan, but he did not claim it; later, through amnesty, he was able to obtain legal status in the United States; overall, he has positive memories of the program, because he was able to have a better life.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Juan Rosanes by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1242," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.