Braceros Trying To Collect Back Pay

March 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
During and after World War II, millions of Mexican braceros were recruited to work in the U.S. Now, more than fifty years later they're still trying to get some of the money they were never paid.

Several braceros from the valley have applied for wage reimbursement. But, they haven't received it yet. So Saturday, they gathered at a meeting to learn more about the process and if they can do anything to speed it up.

Braceros and their family members got together Saturday to discuss an issue that's been going on for more than fifty years.

"I hope they fix something for us." said 80-year-old José Garcia, a former bracero. "I worked in California, Arizona, then Michigan and Arkansas and Texas. Different jobs and different experiences."

While working in the United States, he, along with millions of others, saw 10% of their paychecks deposited into Mexican accounts, a government incentive to return home, but that money was never returned.

"They just talking and talking and no guarantee. They say maybe next month another meeting, and maybe next month another meeting." said Garcia

The deadline to apply for wage reimbursement was January fifth of this year. Now, more than two months later, some said the Mexican Government is delaying the process.

"Too hard. The requirements from the Mexican Government are too hard for these people since identifications to prove that they are braceros."

Activist, Leonel Flores said 75-percent of braceros don't have the proof they need in order to receive a one-time payment of about 28-hundred-dollars but, that the information can be obtained through homeland security. He wants the Mexican Government to ease up on those requirements. And so do millions of braceros and the people who support them.

Many former braceros have passed away, but surviving members were allowed to apply for the wage reimbursement.

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