Migrant day laborers struggle to find work in NYC

Many of the migrants who have arrived in New York City over the last year came looking for jobs, but finding steady employment is proving to be more difficult than many expected.

FOX 5 NY visited Woodside, Queens on Tuesday to see dozens of migrant day laborers gathered near Roosevelt Avenue and 69th Street. Every morning the men stand on the street, hoping that a car will pick them up and take them to a job site. 

"Here we see the situation rather hard, and we can't get a job," said Gustavo Tanqueño, of Ecuador who arrived 4 months ago.

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Tanqueño came in pursuit of the American dream. He made the dangerous trip, costing him $20,000 to get to the United States, and now he's in debt living in a bedroom with a friend and no stable job.

He told FOX 5 that, if he gets lucky, he gets picked up twice a week making $150 a day, but he admits there are weeks there is no work. 

"We all come to look for work, and sometimes we only get 1 day a week, and it's not enough at all," said William Tipan, also of Ecuador.

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Tipan arrived 3 months ago and says this isn't the American dream he pictured. 

"No, no, I thought it wasn't like this, if I knew this I would have stayed in my own country. In my country at least there was some work, very little but something," he said.

Elena Sance arrived from Guatemala 5 months ago, leaving behind her three children. She stands on the same corner 7 days a week, working a minimum of 3 days, making $150 a day. 

In her short time in the city, she has done every job imaginable, from putting down tiles to demolition work and cleaning homes.

Finding stable work is hard for those here illegally, the wait to legally obtain working papers is long and cluttered with red tape, something migrants say they can’t wait around for.