The Following article was published by the New York Times on Nov 25 2007
By ADAM B. ELLICK
EVERY weekday, starting as early as 7 in the morning and continuing until 7 at
night,weary-looking men dressed in threadbare jackets and worn running shoes
gather at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street in Jackson Heights,
Queens, under the gloomy shadow of the el.
Swiveling their heads as if watching a tennis match, the men scan each passing
car,in the hope that a driver will stop and offer up $100 in exchange for a 10-hour
day of grueling labor on a construction or demolition project on Long Island.
But offers of work are few these days, and competition for jobs is intense. As
winter approaches, a man can easily spend the entire day shivering and
desperately hungry, because these day laborers, many of them from Mexico
or elsewhere in Latin America,are not only poor immigrants in need of work;
many are also homeless, or nearly.
“We come here to look for work,” said a 47-year-old Ecuadorean named Carlos
Suarez as he hugged a cheap leopard-print comforter that serves as his bed.
“There is none. What can we do?” Mr. Suarez says that he has sometimes gone
days without eating and has on occasion survived only on bread. But for the
past three months, he has eaten at least one hot meal a day, thanks to a
former illegal immigrant who, with the help of his mother, has become a
guardian angel for these workers.
The man, Jorge Muñoz, is an elfin 43-year-old who goes by the
nickname Colombia..... (read full article)
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