Jose Aguilar


Mario Sifuentes


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Jose Aguilar was born in Casa Blanca Michoacán, México; he was one of the youngest of eleven siblings; his parents worked the fields where he grew up; he also began working in the fields and with the animals at a very young age and consequently dropped out of school; later, in 1959 he became a bracero and worked the lettuce, beetroot, cucumber, and tomato fields on different cities in Arizona and California; after finishing his last contract he remained in the United States until he was able to become an American citizen.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Aguilar talks about his hometown and what life was growing up working in agriculture with his family; he recalls that his father and two of his brothers were bracero workers; in 1954, he came to work illegally to the United States; in 1959 he officially went through the process of being a bracero; he briefly describes the hiring process, including the harsh conditions they had to endure and the medical examinations; as a bracero he completed several contracts where he labored in lettuce, beetroot, green beans, tomato, and cucumber fields, in Arizona, and different cities in California; in addition, he describes the living conditions, payments, friendships, treatment, correspondence, transportation, and recreational activities with the other braceros; after finishing his last contract he remained in the United States until, with the help of his boss, he was able to become an American citizen; Mr. Aguilar concludes that that the experience had a very positive impact in his life.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

40 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1203

Transcript Number

No. 1203

Length of Transcript

32 pages

Interview Number

No. 1203

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.