September 05, 2012
Monday night, the “UndocuBus,” with dozens of monarch butterflies painted on its side, sat in a parking lot in front of Skandalos, a Mexican restaurant/performance venue on the outskirts of Charlotte, displaying its slogan to any late-night passersby: "No Papers, No Fear." Inside the club, Los Jornaleros del Norte (Day Laborers of the North) played cumbia tunes to the undocumented immigrants who have been traveling the country on the bus. Los Jornaleros are aptly named. The band members met on a street corner where they waited to be picked up and employed for the day, and started playing instruments together as a way to pass the time.
Standing on a corner waiting for work has become much more dangerous in the age of Arizona’s SB 1070 “Papers Please” immigration law, and its legislative cousins throughout the country. What recourse do the country’s 117,000 day laborers have against harassment, brutality and wage theft?