The United States and Mexico are working together to locate approximately 13,000 Mexican migrant workers who are owed $6.5 million in unpaid wages.
According to Ken Salazar, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, the Wage Recovery Program for H-2A Workers has been launched to “return millions of dollars in back wages to [Mexican] citizens who participated in temporary worker programs [in the U.S.].”
The H-2A visa program, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.”
CNN reports that the $6.5 million was recovered by the U.S. Department of Labor after they were unable to locate the Mexican migrant workers to deliver their checks. According to a press release from Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the workers “received less than the legally established salary from their employers in the United States.”
According to CNN, it is unclear who the employers were that failed to pay their migrant workers. Officials have also not revealed what years the workers were employed. A list of workers is expected to be sent to officials in Mexico to help locate them in government databases, so they can receive the payment they are owed.
Luisa Alcalde, Mexico’s Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, who met with Salazar earlier this week tweeted: “Together, we watch over labor rights.”