As someone who’s away from home for only months at a time, the way Uriel talked about his home struck me. He’s been away for ten years without his family, a situation I can’t even imagine. I wonder if he has grown to love NYC; I hope he has, but it seems to me that he’s working here solely to create a better life for his family in Mexico. I wonder if he lays awake at night thinking about what he left in Mexico, I wonder how he deals with the harsh winters here.
I hope he’s found a community here and that he’s able to visit home soon. While he speaks of his employers positively, I can’t help but think about how he (and all the other cocineros) are most likely very underpaid for the labor they perform for the business owners. I wonder if, when he was given that promotion, there was a substantial bonus added to his income. Whether working in a kitchen or construction, Latin American immigrants (especially undocumented ones) are exploited much more than U.S.-born members of the workforce. The entire clip just left me feeling angry and sad.
Uriel’s story brought to mind actress Diane Guerrero’s experience as the child of undocumented parents who was left alone in this country after her parents were deported.