Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Agustin Bautista was born in Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México; he is the youngest sibling in his family; in 1943, he joined the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Texas on the railroads; he also picked cotton, lemons and strawberries.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Agustin Bautista recalls growing up in Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México; he states that he is the youngest sibling in his family; additionally, he explains that he was contracted for the first time on 1943, at Empalme, Sonora, México; he details how the contracting and processing of braceros was done, the treatment they received in Empalme, and how they were transported to the United States-México border; furthermore, he explains how officials had braceros shave their heads before crossing into the United States to prevent lice from spreading and how they were deloused; he relates how he worked in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Texas on the railroads and picking cotton, lemons, and strawberries; moreover, he states the work that he did while working on railroad tracks, how hard it was, and the dangers of it; he also describes what daily life was like for braceros, the living quarters they had, the food they ate, and what they did for recreation; in addition, he relates the difficulty of the agricultural work braceros did, the pay they received and the deductions made to his paycheck for food; furthermore, he states how he received ten percent of his paycheck that had been deducted for savings when he returned to México in between contracting; he clarifies that this only happened once, though; to conclude, he recounts how he returned to the United States as a legal migrant after the program ended.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Agustin Bautista by Mario Sifuentes, 2006, "Interview no. 1206," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.