“We migrated to this country for the way of work”

Workers seek day labor jobs on Main Street as way of added income.

Day labor provides source of income

Alicia Hernandez

By Alicia Hernandez, Liberty High School - TX

It is easy to notice the diversity of ethnicities on campus, which is no different from Texas as a whole. 

But due to its proximity to the U.S. border with Mexico, Texas receives immigrants from different countries in Latin America, such as: Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, Colombia, El Salvador and many more. 

For some of these immigrants, being in America brings sacrifices in the hope of a better life.

 “We migrated to this country for the way of work,” day worker #1 said. “Because down there the job is really bad, there’s no jobs for the workers, so we came here to find the American dream.”

It can be hard to make this dream a reality.

Many of the immigrants aren’t offered settled, permanent jobs, mostly due to their lack of experience and language barriers. 

Because of this, many turn to day labor: jobs that aren’t guaranteed and are often found in centralized locations.

In the Frisco area, one of the more popular spots to pick up work is on Main Street in the heart of the Railyard District

“We’re not here all the time,” day worker #2 said. “But when we don’t have a job, we come here, but I think this is a decent way of work. Here we try to do a little bit of everything, cleaning, construction, painting, remodeling. But mostly cleaning.”

Due to its flexibility this type of job can be helpful for the workers’ schedules.

“Sometimes it’s easy for the schedule,” day worker #2 said. “We don’t have an hour set to come, so the schedule is pretty flexible.”

Day labor is not most of the immigrants’ main job since they are not guaranteed that they’ll get work every day, and it doesn’t assure them a steady income to support them and in some cases, all of their family.

“We’re not here all the time, but when we don’t have a job, we come here,” day worker #2 said. “But I think this is a decent way of work. This won’t give us an 80 or 60 percent of a better life, but it does help, in paying bills, you know, paying rent, but it’s not like we’re gonna do a lot with this job.”

The day workers interviewed for this story chose not to give their names.

This story was originally published on Wingspan on December 17, 2020.