Labor and Legality Essay

631 Words Jun 27th, 2012 3 Pages
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Labor and Legality Essay
August 9, 2011
In her book, Labor and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network, Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz describes the lives of ten busboys, she referrs to as the Lions, living and working in the Chicago area. Gomberg-Muñoz provides an insight into the lives of these undocumented Mexican workers. They share their stories of crossing the border, the affects of their absence on family back in Mexico, and the daily struggles of living in a country without the benefits of citizenship. The Lions, as well as other undocumented Mexicans, have to face Americans stereotypes every day. Probably the biggest stereotype the Lions contend with is the belief that all Mexicans are hard workers.
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This statement leads one to believe that the Lions have taken the expectations that Americans have set for them and made them a part of their social identity. While the Lions’ actions may make the hard-working Mexican stereotype seem innocent enough, it can lead to employers taking advantage of undocumented workers.
Americans have a bit of a record regarding the exploitation of immigrants. In her book Gomberg-Muñoz relates how when the United States needed more workers they opened their arms to Mexicans. However, when the economy begins to slow down, the first people asked to leave and give up their jobs are the very same people they invited and encouraged to come. Since many business owners were used to employing Mexicans, they still hire them although it is against laws and regulations. Americans using undocumented Mexican workers tend to pay them less, put them in more dangerous jobs, and make them work harder because they believe Mexicans love to work. While this is great for America and American businesses, it is not as beneficial to the Mexicans they take advantage of.
Gomberg-Muñoz’s book provides the reader with an inside prospective of the lives of undocumented Mexicans. It shows what it is like for people working to help forward themselves and their families in Mexico and The United States. Contrary to some Americans belief that Mexicans want to take over the United States, the majority of the Lions just…

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