Braceros’ Claims Deadline Extended to January 5, 2009

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WWII-era Mexican Workers Granted Extra Time to File Claims for Withheld Payroll Savings.

Hispanic PR Wire/ — An amendment to an agreement between the Mexican Government and lawyers representing thousands of Mexican guest workers has extended the deadline for those workers to submit claims to recover wages withheld from them during World War II. The new deadline is January 5, 2009. The deadline extension was announced by Matthew Piers, a partner at the Chicago, IL-based law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., one of several law firms representing the workers in the class action.

The workers, known as braceros, have been battling with the Mexican Government over recovery of the wages in a federal class action lawsuit for almost eight years. More than a quarter million documented workers came to the United States during World War II to work in agriculture and for the railroad industry as part of a guest worker program that was jointly created and sponsored by the U.S. and Mexican governments. As part of the program, these wartime workers had 10 percent of their wages withheld into a “savings fund,” with the understanding that those amounts would be reimbursed to them by the Mexican Government.

The braceros filed the class action lawsuit claiming that the money never was returned to them. After almost eight years in litigation, and 60 years after their wages were withheld, these braceros, or their surviving spouses and children, are eligible to submit proof to obtain a one-time payment from the Mexican Government of 38,000 pesos, as part of a proposed settlement of the class action. They must do so, under the new deadline extension, on or before January 5, 2009.

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“This is a welcome extension of the deadline that will grant some valuable extra time to these workers, or their survivors, to fill out the forms and comply with very stringent documentation requirements imposed by the Mexican Government on braceros filing claims for their money,” said Mr. Piers. “We are still in a race against the deadline,” he added.

Individuals are urged to act quickly in order to meet the January 5, 2009 deadline for personal delivery of their applications.

Braceros or their surviving family members who feel they meet the settlement’s criteria and require more information related to filing their claims are invited to visit the Caso Bracero web site at http://www.casobracero.com , or call the toll-free hotline at 1-877-436-9359. They can also write to Caso Bracero, P.O. Box 641610, Chicago, Illinois, 60664-1610.

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