Since the Great Recession, cities like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Hobbs, New Mexico, have seen construction booms. Homes and skyscrapers have popped up virtually in a single day because of low-cost labor Latino immigrants present contractors.
But at what price?
“Building the American Dream,” a brand new VOCES/PBS documentary, examines the results of this construction boom in the American Southwest on Latino workers by telling the tales of these erecting buildings in Texas.
The film dives into the lives of 1 Mexican immigrant household in Texas after their construction employee son dies whereas on the job.
A Salvadorian electrician couple is cheated out of wages and tries to power a contractor to pay regardless of having no union to again them up,
Meanwhile, advocates work to attempt to persuade lawmakers and metropolis officers to make lives higher for workers, not by demanding insurance coverage or workers’ compensation, however via an easy request: water breaks.
Director Chelsea Hernandez mentioned she’d been working on the film since 2009 and its a microcosm of the exploitation Latino construction workers face in the U.S.
“It’s something that came organically and by talking to the workers I met,” mentioned Hernandez, a third-generation Mexican American filmmaker from Austin, Texas.
She was launched to her topics and the advocacy group the Workers Defense Project after observing the workers plight in Texas, which outlaws most laws geared toward defending laborers. Business leaders in Texas tout its low price in construction to draw funding nevertheless it comes whereas exploiting weak workers, some with no immigration standing, Hernandez mentioned.
The film, although a partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting, is scheduled to start airing on most PBS stations on Tuesday to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. It may also be obtainable for streaming on PBS.