Listen to Marco and Pedro's story. Audio Producer: Natasha Del Toro

Marco Belloso, a 31-year old from El Salvador, who lives with four other farm laborers. Belloso works in the field nine hours a day, seven days a week, picking tomatoes and onions and clearing weeds, leaving his hands calloused and cracked like dry earth. He does it to be able to send his wife and children in El Salvador a portion of his minimum-wage earnings to buy shoes and other necessities, but he often feels depressed. “I’m so far away,” said Belloso, being here is practically like being in prison, only going from the house to work and back home again.” His housemate Pedro Miranda, who also works in the field, just received news that two of his brothers were shot and killed at a coffee shop back home. Because of his financial and immigrant status, he wasn’t able to return and bury his brothers and still owes $1500 out of the $6000 he has paid to the coyote that brought him to the United States. Meanwhile, his wife and kids are in El Salvador. Both Pedro and Marco dream of going back to be with their families.

  • Marco Belloso, age 31, watches TV after a long day in the field.

  • Pedro Miranda, age 34, in the kitchen. He often makes dinner of beans and eggs for his roommates when they return from the field.

  • Mailboxes at the migrant worker apartment, where Marco and Pedro live.

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“In 1978, it might have been economically feasible and perfectly legal for an executive to award himself a multimillion-dollar bonus while shedding 40 percent of his work force and requiring the survivors to take annual furloughs without pay. But no executive would have wanted the shame and outrage that would have followed any more than an executive today would want to be quoted using a racial slur or photographed with a paid escort.”

- The Broken Contract: Inequality and American Decline by George Packe