As if filing taxes wasn't a good enough reason to hang on to your old pay stubs, thousands of Mexican guest farm workers are discovering another reason: back pay.
As the New York Times reported Monday, the governments of the United States and Mexico are working to give the 2.5 million braceros a one-time payment of $3,500 for long overdue withheld wages. One problem is that many of the former migrant workers who came to the United States to work in the program from 1942 to 1964 are either dead or in their old age, and are having difficulty tracking down the documents they need to prove they were in the U.S. about 50 or so years ago.
The Mexican government took 10% of the braceros' wages to hold until their eventual return to Mexico. But many didn't get it back, and in 2001 a group of braceros from the World War II era filed a federal lawsuit against Mexico. The government announced a reparation program in 2005, but required braceros in the United States to travel to Mexico to register, a difficult journey for the elderly and infirm, the Times reported.