José García Díaz


Annette Shreibati


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

José García Díaz was born on November 29, 1929, in Jamay, Jalisco, México; as a young boy, his family moved to Michoacán; he went on to finish his primary education in México, Distrito Federal; in 1954, he enlisted in the bracero program; his primary job was picking dates and caring for palm trees, in Coachella and Indio, California; he continued working as a bracero on and off until 1964, when the program ended; in 1970, he returned to the United States, and he was ultimately able to become a citizen.

Summary of Interview

Mr. García briefly mentions his family and childhood; he talks about how difficult it was to find work in México and how oftentimes it was not enough to support a family; in 1954, he traveled to Mexicali, Baja California, and enlisted in the bracero program; while there, he had to present his military ID card and pass the physical exams; upon arriving in the United States, he was examined again and fumigated; as a bracero his primary job was picking dates and caring for palm trees, in Coachella and Indio, California; he goes on to describe the various worksites, duties, provisions, treatment, payment, deductions, remittances, and recreational activities; his first year as a bracero there was an immigration raid, and numerous people were deported; sometimes he worked up to three months without a day off; furthermore, he explains how he worked with groups of twenty-five men, and they carried forty-eight foot aluminum ladders in order to pick the dates; while working he fell about thirty-five feet from a tree; although his hospital bills were paid for, he never received compensation for his injuries or lost wages; he continued working until 1959, before returning to México; in 1961, he went through Empalme, Sonora, and he stayed in the United States until the program ended in 1964; in general, he experienced a lot of discrimination and abuse, but he felt it was something he had to endure, because he was a foreigner; overall, his memories of the program are positive, because it ultimately helped him become a citizen.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

25 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1218

Transcript Number

No. 1218

Length of Transcript

16 pages

Interview Number

No. 1218

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.