Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Alberto de Loera was born on April 16, 1940, in Calvillo, Aguascalientes, México; his father was a farmer who taught him how to work the land; he went to school only through the third grade, and from then on spent his time helping his father on the farm; in 1959, he enlisted in the Bracero Program; as a bracero he worked in Arizona, California, and Texas, picking beets, cotton, lemons, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Summary of Interview
Mr. de Loera recalls his childhood and adolescence; in 1959, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program; in order to begin the hiring process, he traveled from Aguascalientes to Empalme, Sonora, México; once he arrived at the processing center in Empalme, he underwent medical exams, including blood samples and x-rays; he also mentions that he was deloused and stripped in front of others as part of the medical procedures; upon being hired, he was transported by cargo train to the border along with thousands of other workers; the train had wooden benches, and he comments that the ride made him feel as though he was being treated like an animal; as a bracero, his first work contract took him to California where he picked beets and tomatoes; his subsequent contracts took him to Arizona to pick lettuce, Texas to pick cotton, and he then returned to California to pick lemons; each time he was contracted he went through the center in Empalme, Sonora, and once he went through Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; he describes the various contract lengths, amendments, extensions, and stipulations; in addition, he explains the difference between hourly and contractual pay wages; he recalls one incident when he injured his leg and was unable to work for a month; although he was not paid for the days he did not work, the doctor bill was paid; when he returned to México, he worked in the fields and in construction, but in 1971, he crossed into the United States illegally to work.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Alberto de Loera by Violeta Dominguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1065," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.