About The Bay: The Plight Of Day Laborers

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Work has slowed down for many day laborers in the Bay Area as the economy slowly tries to rebound.

At San Francisco’s Day Laborer Agency calls come in as a contractor is looking for someone to help him power wash a house. One woman named Bella said she’s “very strong” and takes the job, which will pay her $50 for three hours of work.

But many aren’t quite as fortunate, struggling to find any type of work.

“We’re in a period where it’s super-slow and it doesn’t support us,” said a day laborer, who only identified himself as Jose, through a translator.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports About the Bay:

Any money that Jose makes goes back to his family in Mexico, whom he hasn’t seen in many years.

“Do you go back and froth over the border?” asked KCBS reporter Mike Sugerman.

“No, no, I’ve been here eight years and I haven’t gone back to see my family.”

Jim Quesada is an anthropologist at San Francisco State University and is studying day laborers.

“With the militarization of the border, people find themselves more caught and stuck here,” he said. “In the past, it was easier for migrant laborers to go back and forth across the border.”

But new immigration laws and tougher enforcement seem to be working in that regard.

That’s good news for those who believe the people on the streets are taking jobs from Americans. But for those on the street in this economy, it means the long days of trying to find work are just getting longer.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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