Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Josefina Fajardo was born on October 3, 1936, in Juchipila, Zacatecas, México; she has an older brother and a younger sister; her father was never very involved in her life, and she was consequently raised by her uncle; she later moved to Mexicali, Baja California, México, where she often saw men waiting to enlist in the bracero program; in 1962, she married a bracero; she and her husband were ultimately able to legally immigrate with their children and permanently settle in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Fajardo vividly describes details of her childhood and adolescence; although she moved around often, she settled for a time in Mexicali, Baja California, México; a few blocks from where she lived people regularly gathered in front of a school during bracero contracting sessions; many of them waited for days, slept outside on the floor, and ate whatever they could or begged for food; she saw what they had to endure and felt sorry for them; later, she unknowingly started dating a bracero; he told her he worked at a bar, because he was too embarrassed and did not want her to pity him; in order to obtain a contract he would travel to Empalme, Sonora, México, where he sold paletas to survive and slept wherever he could; at the time, he worked in Holtville, California, and he was able to visit her in Mexicali almost every day; she eventually learned the truth, and they were married in 1962; with the help of his employer he was able to acquire legal documentation; because they met and married in México, he was also able to make legal arrangements for his wife and children after a few years; she concludes that both the American and Mexican government took advantage of people’s suffering and their general willingness to endure whatever they had to and not demand much in the hopes of having a better life.
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Interview with Josefina Fajardo by Verónica Córtez, 2006, "Interview no. 1294," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.