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As I rode the subway home last night, the cold had brought many homeless underground and around them were perimeters of empty seats because no one wanted to sit near them. As unemployment numbers get higher, as does the number of people requiring assistance to buy food,
For the last few months, a group of immigrants who lost their jobs and have been unable to find work due to the economic crisis, live on the margins, in improvised caves in Plainfield and North Plainfield.
The immigrants, like so many, were living not in apartments, and certainly not in state or federal complexes, but were renting rooms, as so many immigrants do when they arrive to the United States. When they couldn't afford the $300 a month, they moved to the caves, which they must crawl into.
Local community advocates say many of the men don't go to shelters because of the language barrier and because of fear of being reported as undocumented.
The anti-immigrant rhetoric as promoted by the mainstream media, would have many believe that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are not only taking jobs but are also taking government benefits. It's easier to point fingers and scapegoat at people pushed into living outside our field of vision. The winter is especially hard for many undocumented workers, since so many day laborers work in construction and the cold weather slows down that industry.
What I found really interesting about the El Diaro article was how some community advocates and government officials said that men "don't seek help" as if they would rather live in caves, when the story is more complex, especially when outing yourself as an undocumented immigrant can mean being killed.
I guess when it comes to life in a cave or death on the streets, living in a cave is a reasonable choice. Que triste.