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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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson