Dust mantles the breeze near the intersection of Adams Street and International Boulevard in downtown Brownsville, where Raul Salas once stood with a sweaty brow under a scorching summer sun, waiting for the prospect of work. Construction of the city’s new bus terminal has since torn up the area, but along the walls of surrounding businesses, day laborers, as Salas used to be, still sit and bide time for odd jobs.
On some days, a potential employer will come by needing a worker to patch a roof or mow a couple of yards. On others, homeowners might ask someone to repair their windows. But the work is never steady and only pays enough to make ends meet, says 69-year-old Salas.
So he was surprised when on a day in June last year, a friend named Pensamiento offered him an opportunity he could not pass up, a seasonal job detasseling corn in Warsaw, Indiana. He points to the mounds of dirt where a Family Dollar once stood.
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