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.
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Interview with Priciliano Suarez by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1397," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.