Latino USA

Bracero Pay Day on Hold / by Maria Hinojosa | June 7, 2013

Bracero Pay Day on Hold
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While Congress debates provisions for a new guest worker program, elderly Mexican farmworkers called braceros protest about retirement money they say they’re owed. Mónica Ortiz Uribe reports.

Photo courtesy of Mónica Ortiz Uribe.


MonicaOrtizUribe1_t210Mónica Ortiz Uribe is a native of El Paso, Texas, where she recently worked as a freelance reporter. Her work has aired on NPR, Public Radio International and Radio Bilingue. Most of her stories examined the effects of drug-related violence across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Waco Tribune Herald in Waco, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in history.

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Jim Estrada says:

As a result of a class action lawsuit approved by a federal court in October 2008, thousands of Mexican farm and railroad laborers (braceros) were entitled to collect monies withheld from their paychecks for work they performed in the United States during World War II. The Mexican government agreed to reimburse Mexican braceros, or their surviving heirs, residing in the USA who were eligible to collect funds withheld from their pay from 1942 to 1946.

Traditional methods used to give notice to class action beneficiaries has been by mail or published legal notices in news publications. The passage of time, the continuing dispersal of the Spanish-speaking population throughout the U.S., low English proficiency levels and the absence of a readily available database of braceros from that time period made it doubtful these methods would yield the results associated with English-language legal advertisements and/or paid notices. A team of lawyers who represented the braceros contracted ECG to develop an outreach plan to insure the maximum number of the targeted audiences would be reached.
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