Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Bob Porter was born in Roscoe, Texas, in 1929; a year later, his family moved to the Las Cruces, New Mexico area, and later they moved again to Hatch, New Mexico, which is where he grew up; in 1954, upon finishing a tour of duty in the military, he began working for the Doña Ana County Farm Bureau; while there, he administered the Bracero Program for two years; he later took a position with the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, spending his last fifteen years there as director and CEO.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Porter briefly recalls his childhood; in 1954, he began working for the Doña Ana County Farm Bureau as an assistant director, and he then moved up to director; while there, he administered the Bracero Program for two years; the Doña Ana program was the largest one with 6,000 braceros during the cotton season; at that time, about 500 braceros were transported daily between Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico; while at the reception center, the braceros were medically examined and given time to clean up and rest from their trips; the centers operated year round with some of the braceros working on ranches and in vegetable production; he recalls a trip he took to México, for a special crossing of braceros, in which a few hundred workers were requested by local farmers, but thousands showed up waiting to be hired; there were meetings and negotiations between the Department of Labor and area farmers; he also mentions labor strikes in the area, and he recalls one instance in which Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta came through town; in his opinion, the Department of Labor’s stringent and increasing demands led farmers to pursue mechanization, which ultimately ended the Bracero Program
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Bob Porter by Beth Morgan, 2003, "Interview No. 1565," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.