“I was 32 when I came to the US the first time, in 1998. The violence and crime in Mexico was getting worse, and work was getting harder to find. My brothers said getting there might be hard, but it would be worth it because I’d earn more. A better future, right?” (Bacon). Fidel Antonio, a day laborer, had to migrate to the U.S in order to support his family, because he didn’t want his children to experience what he went through. The following, will take a closer look on the undocumented migrants living in the U.S with an emphasis on their role in society and the struggles they undergo. Migrants play a vital role in America’s workforce and economy, but still face loads of struggles when it comes to money, education, and their overall life in the U.S.

Migrants play an essential role in the U.S economy and workforce, from picking up fruits and veggies, building and cleaning, to taking care of babies. Migrants work diligently to be able to provide for their families. The article titled, “These U.S industries can’t work without illegal immigrants” by Mary Jo Dudley, discusses the importance of migrants and their roles in completing the work. Dudley wrote,
“For example, in 2014, unauthorized immigrants made up 24 percent of maids and cleaners, an occupation expected to need 112,000 more workers by 2024… In 2017 research conducted by the Cornell Farmworker Program, 30 New York dairy farmers told us they turned to undocumented workers because they were unable to find and keep reliable U.S. citizens to do the jobs.” (2019). In other words, undocumented people are filling up more of the jobs, and it is anticipated that they would need more. Deporting migrants would only complicate the workforce and the U.S economy would worsen. Many employers seek undocumented people because they know that no matter the harsh working conditions, migrants have no other choice than to take that opportunity. Considering the limited opportunities that migrants have, there are several employers who take advantage of their necessity for work and most of them are exploited.

One way undocumented workers are exploited is through what is called “Wage Theft” which is when employees are paid less money than what’s expected for the work they do. According to Deepa Fernandes’ article, “Undocumented workers fight for wages under the threat of deportation”, several workers are being paid a deficit amount of money while living in fear. Fernandes wrote,
“After weeks of working on the ranch, the man said his boss shorted him on his paycheck. He repeatedly asked to be paid in full but received a text message that he said read: ‘Illegals like you should return to their countries, soon immigration will visit you.’” (2018). In spite of having quality workers, the boss decided to take advantage of the migrant worker by threatening to turn him in to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. For this reason, undocumented workers are stuck with dealing with the degrading and unfairness for they have no choice. Moreover, the role that migrants play to support the U.S economy should be praised and enlightened by the employers and the entire society as a whole.

Although migrants are forced to put up with unfair working conditions in order to provide for their families, there are still other everyday struggles they deal with. One of these everyday struggles is that constant fear of being deported and/or being separated from their families as a consequence of deportation. In the article, “Meet the Oakland Lawyer Working with Immigrants in 2017” written by Emerson Collective, describes a lawyer, Mindy Philips, who tries to aid migrant families on “the new Administration’s executive orders on immigration.” Philips emphasizes, “‘People are scared,’ she says—and this was before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in adherence to the executive orders, began stepping up deportations. Of course, fear has always been an undercurrent in communities where people are undocumented.” Even before when ICE wasn’t as active, undocumented people would fear the day would come where they won’t come home to their families and/or be deported. Nowadays since ICE is more active due to President Trump’s administration, more undocumented people fear even setting a foot outside their own home. But someone has to provide for the family and take that risk. Furthermore, implementing terror of deportation on others transcends to future generations to come and leaves several in lifetime trauma.

Additionally, in an interview with Juan Mendez, a migrant from Guatemala, explains what life is like being a day laborer. Mendez states, “It was difficult for me at times, all the costs building up, and I still didn’t have the money I needed to help out my family back in Guatemala.” (2019). Mendez struggled to keep himself afloat and also his family. Along with that, in another interview with Candido Martinez, a migrant from Mexico, describes the obstacles he faced when migrating to the U.S at the age of 14. One of these struggles was obtaining a job since he was under age and the other struggle was not being able to continue with his educational path (Martinez). Martinez managed to rise up but still wished he had the chance to pursue higher education. The barriers that Mendez and Martinez came upon didn’t stop their resilience and determination.

To conclude, migrants play a crucial role in the U.S workforce and economy, in serving the communities’ needs, but when it comes to their own needs, they are far from being met. Countless migrants aren’t able to do anything to help their needs because of the limited opportunities they have, the threats they face, and lack of access to certain things like education and a fair paid job. If the U.S society is only focusing on deporting undocumented people who contribute to their economy, instead of other major problems like the environment, poverty, inequality etc, then the U.S system will only keep on deteriorating.

Bacon, David, and Fidel Antonio. “Day Laborer/Immigrant – Interview.” East Bay Express, Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB.org) and the Multicultural Institute (MIonline.org). , 15 Jan. 2014, .com. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.
This interview was about a day laborer and what his life is about, why he came here, what it was like, and what he did if he didn’t end up employed.
Dudley, Mary Jo. “ These U.S. Industries Can’t Work without Illegal Immigrants.” Cbsnews.com, 10 Jan. 2019, cbsnews.com.
This article discusses the importance of immigrants and their roles in this economy. Immigrants play a vita and crucial role in work that occurs in the U.S. Disposing of them by deporting them not only hurts them but also the economy, for they also pay taxes and do lots of dangerous work.
Martinez, Divianca, and Candido Martinez. “Migrant Stories.” 29 Nov. 2019.Martinez,
Candido Martinez is a construction worker that immigrated here to the U.S from Mexico and works for a better future for him and his family. Candido Martinez, my dad, is very hard working since he was young, success comes with the effort someone puts in to something and it’s a choice.

Divianca, and Juan Mendez. “Immigration – Interview.” 27 Nov. 2019.
Mendez works on construction for part time. He migrated from Guatemala to the U.S and since then has lived in Oakland for 8 years. Mendez struggled financially, but still strived to support his families needs even when the times were not always the best.
Fernandes, Deepa. “ Undocumented Workers Fight for Wages under the Threat of Deportation The World The World.” 20 Mar. 2019, .
This article looks closer at a specific story about an immigrant who wasn’t being paid correctly but he couldn’t do anything because he was threatened to be deported.org. He had been working for a long time already and his boss always lowered his paychecks, basically threatening him that if he spoke about that, that he would get him deported.
Philips, Mindy. “Meet the Oakland Lawyer Working with Immigrants in 2017.” Emerson Collective, Mar. 2017, .com. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.
This article is about how there is a lawyer trying to help immigrants by informing them. There is several undocumented people that live in fear. Even before when ICE wasn’t as active they were still scared, afraid that one day they won’t see their family again because of deportation. But now that nightmare is becoming true for various families.

image_printPrint this page.


0 0 votes
Rate This Post
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
May 12, 2020 4:43 pm

Dear Divianca,
My maternal grandfather came to this country from Mexico with my grandma and 6 children in the early 70s. He worked as a cement layer for decades in order to support his family. My paternal grandparents also brought 5 children with them in the 70s. Now, I am weeks from obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree at San Jose State University. If it were not for the terrifying sacrifice that my grandparents took to bring my parents to the United States, my life would be completely different. I really liked how you broke down the different struggles that immigrants face. It is not only financial, it is also social and emotional due to the racist people that make it hard for people to survive and make a living wage. I was also happy to see that you mentioned other countries from which people migrate from like Juan Mendez from Guatemala. Also, immigrants very much do keep this economy going and occupy MANY more jobs than you think. Great job overall and thank you for writing such an understanding and uplifting post about such a controversial topic especially during this administration.

Erin Palazzo
Erin Palazzo
March 8, 2020 5:52 pm

Dear Divianca,
You have done a thorough job covering a very complex and difficult issue! I especially appreciate how you highlighted the difficult position undocumented workers are in–that their employers have the ability to exploit their labor and they have no recourse. I would be interested in learning more about another problem you mentioned briefly with the quote from Mendez–how many migrants come to America for the better job possibilities but still struggle to send money back to their families to support them or help support their immigration to America because the cost of living in America is also higher? It’s another complex issue connected to this topic, so I don’t think it has easy answers, but it might be a direction for us to explore more, as I could see myself having more ability to help or impact that aspect of a migrant’s struggles, whereas I feel pretty helpless in what I could do to help fight against exploitative employers. It’s another direction to go in when thinking about including a Call for Action, as the last poster suggested. Thanks for moving the dialogue forward on a very important topic!

Cameron Castaneda
Cameron Castaneda
March 7, 2020 11:26 pm

Dear Divianca, You presented strong claims for migrant workers in the U.S., which include their impact on our workforce and economy. We need them just as much as they need us. Have you considered your call for action? In other words, what would you like to see happen or what would you like your readers to do with information that you’ve presented? This could be a great way to end your blog– with a thought provoking statement or consideration. Your rhetoric really details the migrant struggle and I appreciate your thoughts on this topic.

January 15, 2020 7:38 pm

Dear Divianca I think your post is good because it talk about our culture. Aline that stood out to me was “migrants play a essential role in th U.S” because I highly do agree with this sentence. I agree with your point about migrants play a big role because most work happens by latins here in the U.S. Thanks for writing keep it up.

January 8, 2020 7:45 pm

Dear, Divianca
I feel very moved about your post “Migration” one sentence that stood out was” In spite of having quality workers, the boss decided to take advantage of the migrant worker by threatening to turn him in to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency”. This stood out because I have known a lot of immigrants that have worked very hard and they get robbed by only paying them a little. However one thing i disagree with is when you said “Nowadays since ICE is more active due to President Trump’s administration, more undocumented people fear even setting a foot outside their own home” because even before trump with barack obama administration obama deported 5 million this deporting problem started way before trump.

January 8, 2020 7:32 pm

Dear, divianca

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Email allisonpr@gmail.com Call or Text 917-612-3006

Missions on Youth Voices
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account