The government of Mexico has agreed to pay about $14.5 million to settle claims on behalf of its citizens who came north as guest workers between 1942 and 1946. Ten percent of the workers’ pay was deducted and sent back to the Mexican government, which was supposed to apply much of it to their benefit, but (according to advocates) substantial sums were never claimed or paid out. Many years later the Mexican government opened a compensation program for the elderly braceros and their survivors, but some of those resident in the U.S. found it too hard to use and a Chicago class-action lawyer sued.
The lawsuit was dismissed twice, as courts considered whether too much time had passed and whether a lawsuit against the Mexican government could have standing in the United States. The American government and Wells Fargo Bank, initially named as defendants, were dismissed from the case.
(Pam Belluck, “Settlement Will Allow Thousands of Mexican Laborers in U.S. to Collect Back Pay”, New York Times, Oct. 15; “Mexican ministry OK with braceros deal”, AP/BakersfieldNow, Oct. 17).