Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Alfonso Ramírez was born in Yepómera, Temósachic, Chihuahua, México; his mother’s name was Paula Varela, and his father’s name was Jacobo Ramírez; Alfonso was the eldest of his eleven siblings, and they all grew up on an ejido; he was formally educated through the fourth grade, and he also helped his father in the fields; when he was about fourteen years old, his father began working with the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets and lettuce; he completed roughly six contracts; in 1964, during the last year of the program, Alfonso also worked as a bracero in the fields of New Mexico picking cotton; he later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Ramírez briefly talks about his family and what his life was like growing up on an ejido; when he was thirteen years old, he began working for a railroad company in Chihuahua, México; he also continued laboring in the fields and caring for the animals on the ejido; shortly after, his father enlisted in the bracero program and completed roughly six contracts in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets and lettuce; in 1964, during the last year of the program, Alfonso also joined the program; he describes going through the contracting process in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, including the required documents; from there, he was transferred to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México in a cargo train; upon crossing into the United States, he was medically examined and vaccinated; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Las Cruces, New Mexico picking cotton; he goes on to detail camp size, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances and recreational activities; in addition, he relates other anecdotes about his experiences working as a bracero; he later immigrated to the United States; overall, he has positive memories of his experiences as a bracero, because he learned a great deal and made a better life for himself.
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Interview with Alfonso Ramirez by Manuel Sanmiguel, 2008, "Interview no. 1369," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.