Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Margarita Murillo was born in Pajacuarán, Michoacán, México, on April 19, 1957; her father, Federico Herrera, was previously widowed and had seven children from that marriage; he later remarried and had two daughters, of which Margarita is the youngest; when Margarita was only a few years old, her father enlisted in the bracero program; he labored in the fields and on the railroads; after his time in the program, the family moved to Sinaloa, México, where Margarita learned to work in the fields; she later married, and her father died shortly after; she and her husband ultimately immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Murillo talks about growing up with her sister and two half brothers; when Margarita was only a few years old, her father, Federico Herrera, enlisted in the bracero program; he labored in the fields and on the railroads; while he was gone, they stayed with different relatives on her mother’s side, because they did not have a home; her aunt often gave them supplies like food and soap, because they did not have anything; her mother cleaned, washed and sewed to earn money; eventually, her father was able to send enough money for them to rent a small adobe home; although they still lived in extreme poverty, Margarita was too young to know any better and was happy nonetheless; when Federico finally returned home, Margarita did not recognize him, because she was so young when he left; after his time in the program, the family moved to Sinaloa, México, where Margarita learned to work in the fields; she recalls her father talking to her about the sacrifices he made in order to work; when he crossed into the United States, he was stripped and fumigated, which is why he does not have a shirt on in his mica card picture; he also spoke to her in English and told her about his trips into town while working; in addition, he also showed them how to make flour tortillas and other foods; he always wanted the best for her and often encouraged her to come to the United States in the hope of having a better life; she later married, and her father died shortly after; she and her husband immigrated to the United States, and they were ultimately able to obtain legal status.
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Interview with Margarita Murillo by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1359," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.