Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Alejandro S. Arredondo was born on April 24, 1934, in Amaculí, Durango, Mexico; he is one of ten children born to Madaleno Arredondo and Guadalupe Salas Arredondo; his family worked in the agriculture; in 1954, he joined the bracero program and remained working as such until 1964; he did not receive any formal education, however, he did learned to read and write during his time as a bracero; he worked in the tomato, strawberry, squash, and cabbage fields of California; his last contract was in 1964; his brother, José Arredondo, was also a bracero; Mr. Alejandro S. Arredondo later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Arredondo briefly talks about his hometown and what life was like growing up; he initially learned about the Bracero Program in Cosalá, Sinaloa, Mexico; his brother was already in the United States and he wrote to him about the program; Mr. Arredondo travelled to Culiacán, Mexico in search of employment; from there, he traveled to Mexicali, Mexico; while in Mexicali, Mexico, he worked in the fields picking cotton; he crossed into United States illegally and he picked cotton as an undocumented worker; on several occasions, he and other undocumented workers were detained by immigration officials and were sent back to Mexico; Mr. Arredondo recalls the harsh living conditions; he was homeless for a brief time; he states that he earned more money as a bracero than he did as an undocumented worker; he earned forty cents an hour; he recalls working eight hours a day, six days a week; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, remittances, treatment, and correspondence; he recalls that the Japanese foremen were much nicer to the braceros than the Mexican foremen; he did not leave the camp often because he did not have transportation; he married his wife in Amaculi, Mexico, where she currently resides; he has not been able to emigrate her and a son; he states that he visits them often; Mr. Arredondo has one daughter living in Texas, one daughter living in Los Angeles, California, and one son living in San Luis, Rio Colorado; Mr. Arredondo is now a United States citizen.
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Interview with Alejandro S. Arredondo by Mónica Pelayo, 2006, "Interview no. 1316," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.