Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Suarez was born in 1936, in Tecario, Michoacán, Mexico; he was the youngest of five children; his parents worked in agriculture; he began working with his father in the fields at a very young age and consequently never received any formal schooling; in 1959, he became a bracero and worked in the vegetable and cotton fields of California and Arizona; after his third contract he returned to Mexico.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Suarez talks about is hometown and working in agriculture on his father’s land; he briefly recalls his family and childhood; he remembers hearing stories about his father working in the United States, which made him want to do the same; in 1953 Mr. Suarez married at the age of seventeen; he and his wife had three children; in 1959 he went through the hiring process to become a bracero; as part of the process, he was medically examined, vaccinated, and deloused; in addition he mentions going through the center in Empalme Sonora, Mexico; from there Mr. Suarez was sent to the processing center in Calexico, California where he was stripped and examined; he mentions that the process was degrading; after this process he was sent to El Centro, California; his first contract lasted forty-five days and took him to work in the lettuce fields of Salinas, California; he goes on to talk about the living conditions, payments, remittances, treatment, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; many braceros would drink and go dancing every weekend; after the program ended in 1964 he returned to the United States as an undocumented worker on several occasions; although he did suffer as a bracero, his overall memories of the program positive.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Priciliano Suarez by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1397," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.