Pedro Velazquez L


Annette Shreibati


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Pedro Velazquez was born on May 4, 1939, on a small ranched named El Molino in San Diego de Alejandría, Jalisco, México; his parents worked in agriculture; he was never formally educated; consequently, he did not learn to read or write until he was an adult; during his adolescence he helped his parents care for animals; in 1959, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he stayed working there until it ended in 1964.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Velazquez recalls learning to work the land with his family; in 1959, he traveled to Empalme, Sonora, to enlist in the bracero program, but his name was not on the list of eligible workers; in order he had to get the necessary papers, he had to pick two thousand kilos of cotton, which was very hard work; from then on, he preferred to pay a coyote to get the documentation; from there he went to Mexicali, Baja California, México, and the center there was only open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM; his first contract took him to Arizona, where he stayed for a little over a year; some of the people who worked there but lived in town offered to give the braceros a ride whenever they needed one; he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, living conditions, amenities, provisions, daily routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, and recreational activities, including trips into town; although it never happened to him, sometimes braceros were cheated out of their paychecks by the foremen; on paydays, groups of people would go to the camps in huge buses to sell goods, like clothes and shoes; in addition, he mentions that immigration officials would often go to the camp sites, because there were so many undocumented workers; during the program people without proper documentation were punished with jail time for a few months before being sent home, but when the program ended, they were sent straight home without having to go to jail; after his last contract in 1964, he returned to México, but he later came to the United States illegally; he was ultimately able to obtain legal documentation and permanently settle in the United States.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

50 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1162

Transcript Number

No. 1162

Length of Transcript

42 pages

Interview Number

No. 1162

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.