Efrain De La Fuente


As Interviewed by Nathan Sheu, March 12, 2017

Efrain De La Fuente: In His Own Words

I am here with Mr. Efrain De La Fuente, the Assistant District Attorney for Travis County and former candidate for district judge. We are here to discuss his background and who or what inspired him to become a lawyer.

So, everyone has a motivation or dream to become what they are. Did any person, specifically, inspire you to become a lawyer? If so whom?

Well, it wouldíve been my father, who was a migrant farmworker, as I was, and (with) my father they took advantage of him as migrant farmworkers. I mean, they wouldnít pay us well, living conditions were always poor, and of course the type of work we did, nobody wanted to do it. And so my father, one time, sued a company called Green Giant, and they produce like corn and green beans, and you name it -- a lot of vegetables.

He sued them because of the living conditions we were living under as migrant farmworkers because we would travel to states outside of Texas and work for these companies. And so when my father sued them in federal court, and won, that really showed me that even though you may not have all the money in the world, or have the best education, that you can always find justice within our legal system. And thatís one of the reasons why I became a lawyer, is because of my father and what he had done, even though he only had a third grade education, and couldn't really speak the English language, but even him could gain a lawsuit in federal court. So thatís one of the reasons I became a lawyer.

Did you experience any racial bias in the court when you sued Green Giant?

I think so, of course I was young at the time, Nathan, I was maybe 8 or 9 or so, but I think my parents experienced a lot of that, just because of who they were -- they were migrant farmworkers, and they didnít have the resources, the money, to hire some real powerful attorney. But you had good attorneys who nonetheless were willing to take their case, which was the ACLU and the Migrant Farmworkers Union, that provided lawyers that were willing to take their case. But Iím certain that my parents experienced some discrimination, just because of who they were, and the lawsuit that they were bringing, but nevertheless, they stuck with it and prevailed at the end.