Claudia Morales Aro
Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Félix was born on September 21, 1939, in Tepetongo, Zacatecas, México; as a child he would eagerly wait for his father to come home from working as a bracero; he knew at a young age that he also wanted to become a bracero; in 1959, he began the hiring process for the Bracero Program; he worked in various cities throughout California, Illinois, and Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Félix recalls that as a child, he would eagerly wait for his father to come home form working as a bracero; he knew at a young age that he also wanted to come to the United States to work as a bracero; when he was eighteen, he began marching in the Mexican army in order to obtain his military ID card so he could enlist as a bracero; in 1959, he went to Empalme, Sonora, México, to begin the hiring process; he describes what the center was like and how he waited twenty-one days for a contract; in addition, he explains how he was medically examined and then transported to Mexicali, Baja California; he goes on to detail the medical exams he underwent in Calexico, California, including x-rays, blood samples, and the delousing process; his first work contract took him to Stockton, California, for three months; after his contract expired he returned to México, and he later went through the contracting center in Guasave, Sinaloa, México, which took him to work in Salinas, California, picking lettuce; he later went through another contracting center in Matamoros, Taumalipas, and he worked picking cotton in Texas; when his contract expired, he again returned to México; sometime later, he was able to arrange the necessary paperwork for him to emigrate into the United States.
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Interview with José Félix Prieto by Claudia Morales Aro, 2003, "Interview no. 1262," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.