In the fields of south Texas Mexican women labor long hours in dangerous modes under the ever-present threat of deportation
On a rainy, pre-dawn Monday morning in the fields of the Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border in south Texas, little constellations of flashlights wink in the different regions of the light-green field. They are held by undocumented immigrants, principally from Mexico, and largely living in fear of arrest and deportation but wielding all the same to provide for their families. Their paws twist the relationship on bunches of parsley or hack stalks of kale until their palms blister. Most of Texas is still asleep.
Many of them are paid on a contract basis, by the box. A carton of cilantro will earn construction workers$ 3; experienced farmworkers say they can fill one within an hour, which entails a usual 5am to 6pm work day would pay them $39 total. The run can run from physically unpleasant and banal( cilantro, loot, beets) to outright agonizing and dangerous( watermelon, parsley, grapefruit ).
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