Manuel Alfonso Ramirez Varela

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Ramírez briefly talks about his family and what his life was like growing up on an ejido; when he was thirteen years old, he began working for a railroad company in Chihuahua, México; he also continued laboring in the fields and caring for the animals on the ejido; shortly after, his father enlisted in the bracero program and completed roughly six contracts in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets and lettuce; in 1964, during the last year of the program, Alfonso also joined the program; he describes going through the contracting process in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, including the required documents; from there, he was transferred to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México in a cargo train; upon crossing into the United States, he was medically examined and vaccinated; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Las Cruces, New Mexico picking cotton; he goes on to detail camp size, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances and recreational activities; in addition, he relates other anecdotes about his experiences working as a bracero; he later immigrated to the United States; overall, he has positive memories of his experiences as a bracero, because he learned a great deal and made a better life for himself.