Eva R. Ortiz


Alejandra Díaz


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Eva R. Ortiz was born April 5, 1934, on a ranch in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; her mother, Teresa Orozco, was a housewife, and her father, Jesús Ruiz, worked on an ejido; Eva was the third born of her five siblings; she was formally educated through the fourth grade and often helped her father work the land; in 1957, she married Manuel Ortiz Orozco and later had two children; Manuel enlisted in the bracero program prior to their marriage, in1955, and he continued after as well; as a bracero, he labored in New Mexico and Texas, picking various vegetables and cotton and caring for livestock; they later immigrated to the United States and ultimately became citizens.

Summary of Interview

Ms. Ortiz talks about her family and what her life was like growing up; as a young woman she began dating Manuel Ortiz Orozco, whom she knew from the ranch where they were both raised; in 1955, he enlisted in the bracero program; she was happy that he joined, because it was of great help, especially given that the harvests were so undependable; they often wrote love letters to each other; when he and other men were gone their fields were abandoned, and the women and children did the best they could; after he returned from his first contract, they married in 1957; they continued living on the same ranch, but were very poor; Manuel renewed his contract three more times out of necessity; even so, he earned only fifty cents an hour, and consequently did not have much to send home; the barracks he lived in often had rats and snakes; Eva stayed with her parents, and a year later, her son was born; she suffered greatly in Manuel’s absence; they were so poor, she had to go to different stores asking for them to extend her credit for food; the other bracero wives all helped each other as best they could and shared what little money they had; many were worried their husbands would find new wives in the United States and not return home; Manuel went home roughly every year; in 1960, their daughter was born; the family later immigrated to the United States, and they ultimately became citizens.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

44 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1362

Transcript Number

No. 1362

Length of Transcript

39 pages

Interview Number

No. 1362

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.