Antonio Olivares Samaniego

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Olivares briefly talks about his family; after they moved to Hermosillo, Sonora, México, he heard about the bracero program; during the early 1950s, he decided to enlist in the program; he recounts the contracting process he underwent; although he was not medically examined in México, his hands and arms were checked to ensure that he was able to work; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona, California and Washington, picking and irrigating alfalfa, beets, cotton, pears, peas and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, living conditions, provisions, routines, treatment, payment, remittances and contract lengths; in addition, he explains that while in Washington, his boss did not speak any Spanish; as a result, they communicated through signs; in Arizona, he had more contact with his boss, because he did speak Spanish; while there he was also given passes to return to México for Christmas; he also mentions that he worked from sun up to sun down, but he was only paid for ten hours daily; after the program ended, he worked in the United States without proper documentation, but he was able to obtain legal status shortly thereafter; overall, his experiences with the program were positive, because he had work in the United States, whereas in México, he did not.