Verónica Cortez A.
Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Daniel Rodríguez Rea was born on January 6, 1936, in Jalpa, San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, Mexico; he had one sister; he attended school in Guanajuato for approximately four years ; in 1949, he began working in the cotton fields of Texas; while living in Mexicali, Mexico, he heard about a call for braceros; in 1954, he became a bracero and worked in the tomato and potato fields of Sacramento, California and in the beet fields of Imperial, California; his last contract was in August 1960; he did not return to Mexico.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Daniel Rodríguez Rea briefly talks about his hometown and working in agriculture; in 1949, he left his hometown and began working in the cotton fields of Texas; he eventually relocated to Mexicali, Mexico; in 1954, Mr. Daniel Rodríguez Rea went through the hiring process to become a bracero; he mentions going through the center of Mexicali, Mexico; he recalls the process was difficult and potential braceros were required to pay twenty-five dollars in order to get in line; he also describes the medical exams and required documents; as part of the process, he was medically examined and deloused in El Centro, California; his first contract took him to work in the tomato and potato fields of Sacramento, California; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, treatment, friendships, and recreational activities; he says that braceros initially contracted for forty-five days; after that time period, many braceros were sent back to Mexico and they had to go through the process again; his second contract took him to work in the beet fields of Imperial, California; he worked as an irrigator for six years; he states that U.S. immigration and unemployment agency officials visited the fields; the unemployment agency did not want braceros working as irrigators or heavy machine operators; Mr. Rodríguez Rea states that his boss had to employ Americans in order to satisfy the unemployment agency; he continued to do the work, but he was told to keep a short-handled hoe in hand; with the help of his boss, he became a legal United States resident; Mr. Rodríguez Rea concludes that he is very proud to have worked with the Bracero Program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Daniel Rodríguez Rea by Verónica Cortez A., 2006, "Interview no. 1313," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.