migrants in low-wage depths of the U.S. economy that they are simply defending the rights of workers
Luis Zavala knew something was wrong when he saw the gun pointed at him.
construction worker aged 45 who lives in Louisiana, and about two dozen others in his team gathered in the small town of Kenner, just outside New Orleans, where he believed to be about to receive unpaid wages by his boss.
The measure was introduced at the end of a bitter conflict, and his employer had told them to meet in a parking lot in front of an apartment complex. But instead of answering, they were surrounded by armed police and immigration officers and customs.
Zavala, who was waiting in his car when the attack began, was dragged out of his vehicle, handcuffed and lying on the ground. "They came out very aggressively, pointing their guns. Overthrew me. They set foot on my back. It was very scary," said Zavala The Guardian.
Zavala and his colleagues had been left alone to face a brutal truth that affects more than 11 million illegal immigrants working in the dark depths of the low wages in the U.S. economy: speak against a employer who mistreats you can be arrested and deported.
million workers fatigue Zavala in sectors such as construction, occasional day labor, agriculture or the food industry throughout the United States and as many Zavala and Others have found standing to complain place can give an employer to inform the immigration authorities.
Experts say that some employers are too willing to hire undocumented workers and exploit them for their willingness to work long hours for low wages. If nobody complains, questions about immigration documents rarely asked. But in case of problems - who are injured at work or workers demand better wages or access to a union - a quick call to the employees of the police or ICE will lead to expulsion hard
"Employers use this as a big club against workers who fight for themselves," said Rebecca Smith, an expert from the National Employment Law Project, which campaigns on various issues abuse of workers United States.
Smith has recently co-authored a study on the phenomenon called for workers' rights in the NELP ICE, which describes many recent cases in which the threat of expulsion had been used against workers who tried unionize or complain about safety standards or had their wages stolen. However, Smith believes, because most victims are deported or fear of being expelled from the vast majority of incidents occurring in the United States simply never come to light. "This is the tip of the iceberg," he said.
But some say. One is Felipe Villareal, a worker old car wash from Mexico who has been in the United States since 2000. Like many undocumented workers willing to do the work that American workers do not want and certainly not for so little money. Villareal worked through chemical vapors and hot water from a car wash machine in Culver City, California, often just for advice. "There was a lack of security protection. Use a large amount of toxic chemicals that penetrate the skin and lungs, "he said.
"Sometimes you get home. You just be ready for the next round. Worked for our families. This is the main reason. We have bills to pay and families to support, "said.