Day Labor Quiz

The Film

worker at building site

What I did was to cross the border illegally and this is against the law of the United States. But it's not against my law of my family. - Ramón Castillo Aparicio

Ramón and Juan
I will be deported and I don't care....I will have to face the judge and...tell him that we are human beings, the same as his parents and other people who came to the United States as immigrants.  We are doing the same thing. - Juan Ignacio Gutiérrez

It's 1999, and the booming city of Austin, Texas keeps on growing - thanks largely to men like Ramón and Juan, who work some of the hardest jobs in an America that doesn't want them. Through the lives of these two men and a battle over Austin's controversial day labor program, LOS TRABAJADORES brings to life the vivid contradictions that haunt America's dependence on and discrimination against immigrant labor.

Voted America's second best city for business by Fortune magazine, Austin is alive with the sights and sounds of manual labor as new buildings pop up all over town. A construction industry hungry for healthy bodies means a growing need for day laborers. Men like Ramón and Juan are ready to take almost any job that comes their way, but wonder why few people acknowledge the ties that bind an expanding city to workers excluded from the prosperity they help create.

LOS TRABAJADORES follows an eventful year in the lives of Ramón and Juan, centering on the day labor site where they wait for work. When the site moves into a residential neighborhood, the workers find themselves facing opposition, misunderstanding and racism as they try to organize and earn the trust of the local community. Through experiences that range from political protests to bitter arguments to nostalgic sing-alongs, the men strive to overcome differences, share dreams and connect with one another and local residents alike.

Seen through the eyes of Ramón and Juan, the complexities of immigration and labor issues transcend the political and turn intensely personal as these men sacrifice everything to earn money for their far away families. When the film visits Ramón's home in Mexico, viewers understand the link to this often-invisible world of wives and children waiting for their husbands and fathers to return. Slipping behind closed doors and crossing borders both real and symbolic, LOS TRABAJADORES reveals the telling details and deep emotions of immigrants who continue to bet their future on America.

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