José Tello


Cesar Villarreal


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

José Tello was born on March 19th, 1923, in a ranch in the state of Coahuila, México; his parents and his many siblings were farmers and cattle ranchers in the ranch they lived in; he began working with his father at a young age and consequently dropped out of school after completing second grade; as a bracero he labored in Texas, Arkansas, and California, in the cotton and radish fields; after completing his last contract he returned to Mexico, and later was able to come back to the United States thanks to an amnesty.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Tello briefly recalls his childhood and how it was growing up in the ranch he lived in; while working in the ranch he heard about the Bracero Program and traveled to the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, where the processing center was; he explains that the process was fairly easy for him and that there weren’t many requirements or medical examinations; he recalls crossing the border at Laredo, Texas; as a bracero he completed several contracts picking cotton and radish in the states of Texas, California, and Arkansas; he briefly describes the living and working conditions at the camps; after completing his last contract he returned to México; thanks to the amnesty, he was able to come back to the United States, where he worked in the construction business, and is now an American citizen; Mr. Tello explains that the Bracero Program didn’t help him much because of the little money they made; furthermore, the experience was not very positive for him.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

18 minutes

Listen to the Interview

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Tape Number

No. 1471

Transcript Number

No. 1471

Length of Transcript

27 pages


GMR Transcription Services

Interview Number

No. 1471

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.