WWII Mexican guest workers rush to meet deadline





After almost 70 years of waiting, some in the Valley are finally on their way to getting money long owed to them by the Mexican government. They are known as braceros, who first came to the U.S. from Mexico as guest workers during World War II to fill the jobs of soldiers off at war. Monday was the deadline for them to process their claims to get this money, and dozens waited until the last minute.

During the bracero program, the U.S. took 10 percent from the workers' paychecks and sent it to Mexico, but the braceros never saw it again. Most of them didn't even know the money was owed to them until a class action lawsuit was filed on their behalf eight years ago. In October, the Mexican government finally agreed on a settlement to return $3,500 to each bracero.

But others weren't so lucky. Ernestina Garcia's father passed away more than 20 years ago, never knowing there was a chance his family would one day be eligible for the money he worked so hard to make. "I think he'll be happy," said Garcia. "He'll be happy he worked so hard in those years."


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