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Eng 120 - Work Life of Illegal Mexican Immigrants

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Robert G. Seminario

Eng 120 Sec 004


Essay #3 Draft #2

Work life of illegal Mexican Immigrants

The clock rang; it is four o'clock in the morning and time to get ready for work. The streets and subway are deserted without a soul in sight. The water is boiling and the smell of coffee is in the air, fresh pastries, muffins, and bagels are being laid out in a display for consumption. This is the daily routine of many Mexican workers who work six day a week and ten hour a day just to make a living. Mexican immigrant's employment portends hopelessness for them as it requires long hours; provide no security or legal rights.

The work day for immigrant workers at diners and in the food service industry is long and starts very early. As the author describes it: "In the Dark before Dawn, when Madison Avenue was all but deserted ... Mexicans slipped quietly into 3 Guys." this is the start of the work day for immigrant workers. Peralta's days were ten-hours long working at the grill making eggs over easy and cheeseburgers, pouring coffee, washing dishes for a stream of customers since 5:00 AM. All this went on for six day a week without letup.

While working is better than being unemployed, it is still disheartening when you can be fired without cause and have no work security. As Peralta knows so well "he can be fired at any time and bring in nothing, not even unemployment, until he lands another job." This climate paints an uncertain picture for Peralta and all immigrant workers. Since, he is illegal; Peralta can easily be exploited and cannot even complain about it without fear hanging over his head of being fired.

There is no point in complaining about the unfair condition as immigrant workers have no legal rights. This has lead to desperate measures on the part of some immigrant workers. Many have turned to unscrupulous legal services that have exploited them with promises of legalization but have provided very little in return. This fact is underscored by an incident that took place at the 3 Guys restaurant. There was a confrontation between a Greek waiter and a Mexican busboy. This situation lead to the involvement of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a workers' rights group. Many of the Mexican workers were reluctant to get involved but were reassured that no one would know. Peralta was subsequently terminated from employment at 3 Guys.

The employment of illegal Mexican immigrants remains desperate as work conditions have not changed. It is a day to day struggle to deal with the challenges of making a living under such trying conditions. The long hours that last for six days a week remain constant. With no green card in sight the security and legal rights of Peralta and other



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