Arturo Alvarez

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Alvarez briefly discusses his family and childhood; he talks about growing up on a ranch and helping his father work the land; in 1963, a wealthy woman from a neighboring ranch gave him the necessary permits and papers to enlist in the bracero program; he went through the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, México; his first contract took him to Salinas, California, where he continued renewing his contract and remained there for one year and nine months; from there he went on to Stockton, California, where he stayed for a little over a year; he goes on to give a detailed explanation of what was required to maintain the lettuce and tomato crops, including planting, cleaning, cutting, packing, and loading; moreover, he describes his daily routine, housing, provisions, payment, deductions, remittances, and recreational activities; additionally, he talks about his contract renewals and how after a while he was just told to stay as long as he wanted to continue working; in general, he was treated well by his employers; he sent letters and money home to his father via money order; after the program ended he obtained a visa in order to come to the United States and visit his brother in Chicago, Illinois; he eventually decided to stay, and he brought his family with him; he was able to establish residency through one of his children who was born in the United States, and he ultimately became a citizen; his overall memories of the bracero program are positive, because he was able to help his father financially and save a little bit of money for himself as well.