Illegal immigrants fight for equal pay rights

Juan Luna spent 20 years working the pavement. Doing construction jobs across the country.

It was hard work, but after immigrating from Mexico it was the only job he could get to put food on the table and a roof over his family's head.

"We would go months without a paycheck, Luna said. Most of the time they wouldn't pay us what they promised us. We had to keep going, we had nothing else we could do to earn money."

Money wasn't the only issue.

"They wouldn't let us eat or drink anything, Luna said. We're working in 100 degree weather without anything. It was horrible."

Despite all of this, Juan said his chances of earning any money were greater in the U.S. than in Mexico.

"It was horrible there 20 years ago, Luna said. No jobs and no money. I can't imagine what it's like now."

Now 20 years later and finally a citizen of the United States, Juan stands with other fellow construction workers hoping to make much needed changes to how these immigrants are treated.

Statistics released by 'Build a Better Nation', a program dedicated to comprehensive immigration reform, show that one in two people who work in the construction industry do not have documents.

About 950,000 construction workers are employed in the state of Texas and half of them are undocumented.

"We cannot leave these workers behind, South Texas Civil Rights Project TMs Hector Guzman Lopez said. If half of the workforce of Texas that construct buildings like this, roads, schools, and hospitals don't have documents they need to be included in this immigration reform. We need a pathway to citizenship so that all of the labor exploitation that is happening will stop and workers can fight for their rights with more security.

Hector said only when the U.S. government takes a good look at immigration reform and tries to come to some agreement can this problem be solved.

Contact 888-452-4778 to report unfair wages.