Yolanda Chávez Leyva
Summary of Interview
Ines was born in Socorro, Texas on February 12, 1933. Her parents used to have a farm in Socorro, but it was sold when they were still alive. One of Ines’s first jobs after graduating from Ysleta High School was at the Coliseum. At the Coliseum, her job was to sit at a table and organized papers and contracts of the Braceros.
At the time she worked at the Coliseum everyone was very welcoming and accepted the Braceros. Ines also mentioned that the center was seen as a totally normal thing and everyone was really nice. One of the things that happen to her at the Coliseum was that she met her husband. She also talks about how when he met her, he told her that one day she was going to become his wife. Ines didn’t think much of it and walked away. A few months later she agreed to date him and later on they got married. Ines's daily routine at the Coliseum consisted of working trying to process about 500 braceros a day then taking a lunch break at 12:00 pm and then another at 3:00 pm and at 5:00 pm she went home.
Some of Ines’s memories working at the Coliseum were that she talked a lot with the Braceros even though they weren’t allowed to talk to them. Work and social life were not to be mixed up and that’s why they weren’t able to talk to them. Ines enjoyed talking to them because they were very nervous and scared of the process.
After working at the Coliseum, she started working for the Consulate as a secretary because she was bilingual. She met many people and made many friends throughout the years because of the languages she spoke. One of the things she saw during her time at the consulate was that people only maintain their jobs there for a couple of months. Ines didn’t know the reason for it but she thinks that it was because they found new or better jobs.
Ines got married to the man she met at her first job at the Coliseum in Socorro and that was the time she got fired from working at the Coliseum for a conflict of interest purposes and she then started working at an insurance company. After a couple of years, the Bracero program ended and she felt very devastated because she thought that the program was very good for everyone and both countries.
Ines then retired but was very happy with the work that she got to accomplish working at the Bracero Program. She felt that it was a great experience and she got to help many people.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Interview with Ines Fresquez Enciso by Yolanda Chávez Leyva, 2017, "Interview no. 1717," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.