Day Laborers Help Teach Illegal Immigrants Though Theater

A theater group has developed performances on employer abuses to help empower and educate workers. The actors involved have experience with the subject matter, as they are all day laborers such as construction workers, painters and maids.

The Associated Press reports that this Los Angeles-based organization, Day Laborer Theater Without Borders, has helped illegal immigrants and other workers with little education understand their legal rights regarding work in this country. The troupe preforms at job centers and other locations throughout Southern California, where the issue of illegal immigration is common.

“When they take it to the streets, to the corners, they use the language that day laborers use because they know it,” Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, which helps fund the theater group, told the AP.

The troupe is an affordable program to run. One person is paid to be in charge, while actors are given $75 per month for bus passes and a $50 stipend for days they perform.

After successfully educating day laborers in their area, they are working to support troupes starting in San Francisco, Maryland and New Orleans.

According to the University of California, the first nationwide study about day laborers in 2006 found that wage theft is the most common abuse suffered by this population, while just over 75 percent of day laborers are illegal immigrants.