Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Cora C. Reyes was born in Mesilla, New Mexico, on January 1, 1926, to a family of farmers; her family moved to La Mesa, New Mexico, in order to take in her aunt’s orphaned children; in 1944, she married Silvestre Reyes, who was also from a family of farmers; the Reyes family often hired braceros throughout the duration of the Bracero Program.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Reyes briefly recalls her childhood and early adolescence; she went to school only through eighth grade, because she had to help her parents at home and on their farm; in 1944, she married her husband, Silvestre Reyes, who was also a farmer; the Reyes family often hired braceros, and there were some who continued to work for the family for over thirty years, which included the time during the Bracero Program and upon their naturalization; the Reyes’s built a house for three particular braceros who brought their families with them and stayed on the farm year-round; the seasonal braceros would sleep on bunk beds in the barn, but they would share the facilities in the main house; on holidays, many of the braceros would return to Mexico to see their relatives; Mrs. Reyes recalls one tragic accident where a worker was strangled by a cotton picking machine; her husband would hire undocumented workers who were in need of work, and he would hide them whenever immigration officers would show up; she concludes that she thought very well of the braceros and had few if any problems with them; in addition, she comments that many of the local farmers would not have survived without the help of the braceros.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Cora C. Reyes by Beth Morgan, 2003, "Interview No. 1568," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.