Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Arturo Berumen was born in 1962, in Zacatecas, México; he was the third born of his twelve siblings; his father, who was also named Arturo, was born in 1933; during the early 1950s, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California picking and packing tomatoes; in 1957, he married, and soon after, he began raising his family; years later, Arturo Jr. also married and had two children; he and his family eventually immigrated to the United States, and he became a citizen; he later helped his parents immigrate as well.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Berumen talks about his father becoming a bracero, in the early 1950s; because he was very young, he changed the dates on his papers so he could complete his military service early and get a contract sooner; just as he finished his service, he learned a bus was already leaving for Guanajuato, México; he gathered his things and left without even saying good-bye to his mother; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California picking and packing tomatoes; he also made friends that he traveled with to and from México; one of his employers helped him send money home with a personal check, but it was not accepted in México, and they were not able to recover the lost money; when he worked loading trucks, he was treated better and given special privileges; with the money he did manage to save, he was able to build a home for his family in México, which they still own; years later, Arturo Jr. also married and had two children; he and his family eventually immigrated to the United States, and he became a citizen; he later helped his parents immigrate as well; in addition, he mentions having some of his father’s pay stubs, which he intends to use in order to fight for bracero compensation; according to a 1952 check, he was paid $35.00 for working between seventy and eighty hours in one week.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Arturo Berumen by Grisel Murillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1078," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.