Efren Pacheco A.

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Pacheco briefly talks about his family; in 1956, when he was twenty-one, he decided to enlist in the bracero program; he went through the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, where he waited for roughly ten days; he paid to sleep in a hotel during that time; those who did not have money slept outside; the men were loaded into trains without seats and transported to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México; they were forced to stand, and they did not stop for restroom breaks throughout the duration of the trip; once they arrived at the border, they had to stand in lines and could not move, because they would lose their place; unless they brought food with them or had money, they did not eat; the men were then stripped to their undergarments and deloused with pesticides used for animals, which smelled horribly, before being medically examined; afterward, they used the public restrooms to bathe as best they could, often without towels to clean or dry themselves, before getting transferred to their worksites; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking cotton until 1960; he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, accommodations, living conditions, provisions, duties, treatment, payments, remittances, contract lengths and renewals, discriminatory practices and recreational activities; moreover, he relates several interesting anecdotes about his experiences, including an unsuccessful strike; after the program ended, he worked in the United States without proper documentation, but he was later able to obtain legal status for himself and his family.