Oral History of Santos Fernández
Santos Fernández joined the Bracero Program when he was 20 years old in 1949. At the time he was single and living in Zacatecas. He worked in Texas, New Mexico, and Wyoming picking cotton, driving tractors, and doing irrigation work. He recalls stories of adversity, such as fights that occurred when men tried to pad their cotton sacks with sand and altercations with immigration officials. He married in 1950 and remembers the pain of leaving behind his wife and sons when returning to the United States for work: "I would feel like crying but I had to fight to support my family."
In the early 1960s, the program's policy began to restrict Braceros' ability to do certain work, such as operating machines and driving tractors. Mr. Fernández's employer wanted him to continue driving the tractor, so he helped him establish residency in 1964. The entire family obtained residency in 1965. Although he remembers difficult times, Mr. Fernández views his work as a Bracero as lucky. "The employers liked me very much. I was very lucky with my employers...very, very lucky, and I am still lucky today."
Click on the following links to access the oral history transcript and audio files.
Fernandez audio 1.MP3
Fernandez audio 2.MP3