Monday, February 7, 2011

Ex-braceros demand owed funds from Mexico

The bracero program ran in the U.S. from 1942 to 1964 and permitted over four million Mexicans to legally labor as guest workers. The jobs were often backbreaking, physically demanding positions on farms, mines and rail yards where workers earned only a few dollars per day. The bracero program would eventually end after numerous employer abuses were revealed such as employees signing strict work contracts in English.

In 2008 a U.S. court settlement obligated the Mexican government to pay compensation to braceros that worked in the first five years of the program. Yet legal red tape in Mexico has delayed the distribution of the withered funds. Hence, several former braceros and their families protested in front of the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles last wee and they demanded the money promised to them by the Mexican government:
The Mexican government put 10 percent of the braceros’ wages into savings accounts for later use. Some braceros received their savings, but (ex-bracero Juan Javier) Jimenez and about 35,000 others are still waiting. Some have died.

The soft-spoken Jimenez said he’s gotten the runaround for years. He called on the Mexican government to publish regulations that provide for payments of about $4,000 each.
The amount sought by the former braceros is modest but well deserved in recognition of all their dedication and hard work.

Image- PBS
Online Sources- PBS,, The Latin Americanist

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