Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Vicente Delgado was born in a small town by the name of Cerro Gordo, between Teloloapan and Acatepec, Guerrero, México; he was raised on a ranch and had very humble beginnings; when he was eighteen, he came into the United States illegally, but shortly thereafter, he was deported to Tijuana, Baja California, México; in 1952, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero he worked in Arizona, California, and Colorado, picking beets, cotton, lettuce, and tomatoes; he and his family later emigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Delgado briefly describes his family and humble beginnings; when he was eighteen, he came into the United States illegally, but shortly thereafter, he was deported to Tijuana, Baja California, México; in 1952, he went to Mexicali, Baja California, to enlist in the bracero program; he goes on to discuss the various contracting centers he went through in México, including the requirements, the thousands of men vying for contracts, the long waiting periods that sometimes lasted weeks or months, and the harsh conditions he endured while there, like sleeping on the floor; moreover, he mentions the coyotes that were often used to avoid delays; upon arriving in the United States he was medically examined, a process which he describes as vulgar and embarrassing; as a bracero he worked in Arizona, California, and Colorado, picking beets, cotton, lettuce, and tomatoes; he also details the different worksites, duties, living conditions, amenities, provisions, payment, treatment, relationships, remittances, and recreational activities; in addition, he explains how he asked for a transfer while working in Stockton, California; oftentimes, he would help other braceros, who could not read or write, with letters; he also talks about working in border cities and being allowed to cross into México on his days off with proper documentation; in the late sixties, he was able to come to the United States with a passport, and he later arranged for the rest of his family to emigrate as well.
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Interview with Vicente Delgado by Nancy Villafranca, 2005, "Interview no. 1269," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.