New PBS film probes construction boom on Latino workers

A brand new movie is analyzing the results of the development increase within the American Southwest on Latino employees

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Because the Nice Recession, towns like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Hobbs, New Mexico, have noticed building booms. Properties and skyscrapers have popped up nearly in a single day due to reasonable hard work Latino immigrants supply contractors.

However at what price?

“Construction the American Dream,” a brand new VOCES/PBS documentary, examines the results of this building increase within the American Southwest on Latino employees by way of telling the tales of the ones erecting structures in Texas.

The movie dives into the lives of 1 Mexican immigrant circle of relatives in Texas after their building employee son dies whilst at the process.

A Salvadorian electrician couple is cheated out of wages and tries to drive a contractor to pay regardless of having no union to again them up.

In the meantime, advocates paintings to take a look at to persuade lawmakers and town officers to make lives higher for employees, now not by way of not easy insurance coverage or employees’ repayment, however via a easy request: water breaks.

Director Chelsea Hernandez stated she’d been operating at the movie since 2009 and it is a microcosm of the exploitation Latino building employees face within the U.S.

“It’s one thing that got here organically and by way of speaking to the employees I met,” stated Hernandez, a third-generation Mexican American filmmaker from Austin, Texas.

She was once presented to her topics and the advocacy crew the Staff Protection Mission after looking at the employees’ plight in Texas, which outlaws maximum rules geared toward protective laborers. Industry leaders in Texas tout its low price in building to draw funding however it comes whilst exploiting inclined employees, some without a immigration standing, Hernandez stated.

The movie, despite the fact that a partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting, is scheduled to start out airing on maximum PBS stations on Tuesday to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month in the US. It’ll even be to be had for streaming on PBS.


Russell Contreras is a member of The Related Press’ Race and Ethnicity Workforce. Practice him on Twitter at:

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