Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Alejandro S. Arredondo was born on April 24, 1934, in Amaculí, Durango, Mexico; he is one of ten children born to Madaleno Arredondo and Guadalupe Salas Arredondo; his family worked in the agriculture; in 1954, he joined the bracero program and remained working as such until 1964; he did not receive any formal education, however, he did learned to read and write during his time as a bracero; he worked in the tomato, strawberry, squash, and cabbage fields of California; his last contract was in 1964; his brother, José Arredondo, was also a bracero; Mr. Alejandro S. Arredondo later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Arredondo briefly talks about his hometown and what life was like growing up; he initially learned about the Bracero Program in Cosalá, Sinaloa, Mexico; his brother was already in the United States and he wrote to him about the program; Mr. Arredondo travelled to Culiacán, Mexico in search of employment; from there, he traveled to Mexicali, Mexico; while in Mexicali, Mexico, he worked in the fields picking cotton; he crossed into United States illegally and he picked cotton as an undocumented worker; on several occasions, he and other undocumented workers were detained by immigration officials and were sent back to Mexico; Mr. Arredondo recalls the harsh living conditions; he was homeless for a brief time; he states that he earned more money as a bracero than he did as an undocumented worker; he earned forty cents an hour; he recalls working eight hours a day, six days a week; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, remittances, treatment, and correspondence; he recalls that the Japanese foremen were much nicer to the braceros than the Mexican foremen; he did not leave the camp often because he did not have transportation; he married his wife in Amaculi, Mexico, where she currently resides; he has not been able to emigrate her and a son; he states that he visits them often; Mr. Arredondo has one daughter living in Texas, one daughter living in Los Angeles, California, and one son living in San Luis, Rio Colorado; Mr. Arredondo is now a United States citizen.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Alejandro S. Arredondo by Mónica Pelayo, 2006, "Interview no. 1316," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.