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Photo essay: The men who live in the canyon

Photographs and captions by David Bacon

San Diego, California -- March 31, 2008 -- Isaias, Alvino and Porfirio, three Mixtec men from Etla, a town in Oaxaca, Mexico, live in the Los Peñasquitos canyon on the north edge of San Diego. They work as day labourers and farm workers -- wherever they can find work.

Isaias stands next to the place where he sleeps.

Some of the men have bicycles for transportation, and ride them in and out of the canyon.

The trail up into Los Peñasquitos canyon begins under a city street. The settlements where the men sleep is in the trees and bushes below houses in a new suburban development.

They have to hide their clothes and possessions, and leave them behind when they go looking for work every day.

One worker looks over the food on a lunch truck, where men living in the canyon buy food.

Juan, a Mixtec immigrant, works as a day labourer. ``There is no work in Oaxaca, where I come from'', he says.

The other Mixtec men from Etla wait for work early each morning at the side of the road.

For more articles and images on immigration, see

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US, Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

Coming in September, 2008, from Beacon Press: Illegal Workers -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants


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