Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Isaura Covarrubias was the third born of her fourteen siblings; she grew up with ten sisters and two brothers, because two of her siblings, twins, died when they were young; her father worked in agriculture, but it was not enough to support the family, which lead to his decision to enlist in the bracero program; he continued working with the program until 1960; Isaura helped raise her younger siblings; she later married when she was roughly seventeen years old and ultimately had eleven children; eventually, she immigrated to the United States and helped her father do the same.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Covarrubias talks about her childhood and early adolescence; her father worked in agriculture, but it was not enough to support their family of twelve, which lead to his decision to enlist in the bracero program; at the time, she was thirteen years old; she weeps at the memories of how much she and her family suffered while her father was gone; he endured a great deal as well and often told her stories; it was very difficult while waiting to obtain a contract, but it was often worse when he began laboring in the fields of the United States; he had to stay hunched over all day; the foremen were always hard on the braceros and told them they did not want posts so they could not stand; even so, he continued working with the program until 1960; during this time, Isaura helped raise her younger siblings; when her father was gone, they all lived a very restricted life; he sent whatever money he could, which was sometimes as little as $15.00 and as much as $30.00; with the money he sent home, the children were able to go to school; she did not like it very much and often suffered from headaches, which she attributed to the fact that she never ate very well; he once came home early by surprise, but she did not recognize him and tried to get him out of the house; she later married when she was roughly seventeen years old and ultimately had eleven children; eventually, she immigrated to the United States and helped her father do the same; unfortunately, he passed away soon after.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Isaura Covarrubias by Susana Salgado, 2006, "Interview no. 1083," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.