Migrants wait for jobs at New Jersey's day labor market

Migrants wait for jobs at New Jersey's day labor market

Men wait for construction, painting jobs; women look for cleaning work

By Mucahit Oktay

Migrants, who take long and dangerous journeys in pursuit of the "American dream", are looking for day labor with low wages in New Jersey.

The migrants, including the illegal ones and asylum-seekers, take their backpacks early morning and line up on the roadside near the areas close to New York.

Men wait for jobs in construction, painting, transportation of goods, and women look for cleaning jobs.

The intersection of New Jersey's connection to the main road near the George Washington Bridge, where it connects to New York, is known as the "day workers' waiting area." This is a place where employers from both New Jersey and New York, operating in different fields, come to find cheap labor.

A South American migrant, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu that they can only find a job 2-3 days a week and that the living conditions in the US are not easy.

An Ecuadorian said he can usually find a job every day because he speaks a little English, yet he does not have a steady income as he does not have a fixed job.

A 40-year-old South African migrant said they work for $20-25 an hour to paint a house.

Another South American said he can find a job easily because he knows plumbing work.

A day worker stressed that working legally or knowing the language is not enough to find a regular job. It is more important to gain mastery in a certain field, he added.

Huan Carlos, who came to the US from Guatemala 15 years ago, said the situation in his country is not good.

Despite spending all these years, he still works in daily jobs and cannot have a regular job. “It has become even more difficult nowadays.”

"I can find a job maybe 2-3 days a week,” Carlos said, adding that the money he earned was barely enough for him.

A Latin American teenager said they share a house with others, which is not an easy situation for them.

As of May, more than 1.3 million asylum applications in the US were waiting to be processed, according to the Migration Policy Institute. As of June 15, 750,000 of these people's files were waiting at immigration courts.

The US hosts over 11 million irregular migrants, including 5.3 million people from Mexico, 741,000 from El Salvador, and 724,000 from Guatemala.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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