Shooting Producer / Director

Stories

Manuel’s Story

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In many ways, Manuel is a typical teen. He plays guitar, likes to watch TV, listen to music and hang out with his brother Carlos. However, when asked why he dropped out of high school to work as a day laborer, the 18-year-old shrugs.

“You gotta work,” he says.

Manuel, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, works with his brother Carlos as a day laborer to help support his family. Manuel has been living in Southwest Florida since he was 6 years old, attended public schools and says he feels Floridian. Like an undisclosed number of undocumented teens growing up in the US, the only future Manuel says he sees for himself is here in the US.

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Manuel works as a flagger on a road construction project in East Fort Myers. His work varies from day to day, ranging from digging ditches, to sweeping, to working in road construction. Manuel dropped out of high-school to work so he could help support his family. This day, his task was to guide traffic through the construction area. "You get used to it," he said of the monotonous job. He worked from 8am till about 5.30pm for $6 an hour.

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