The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has drawn clean up workers from near and far. Many of these workers are Latinos, so-called “disaster migrants” who go from catastrophe to catastrophe and aid in the repair efforts. Fi2W’s Annie Correal documented their lives in a radio piece for Latino USA.
Cleaning up oil in the Gulf of Mexico is grueling, sometimes dangerous work. In Louisiana, these jobs are drawing immigrant workers to small communities. And they’re not always getting a warm welcome.
“It ain’t no more about commercial fishermen, it’s about becoming an oil company man,” says a local fisherman with Spanish roots who is feeling the impact of the BP oil spill and the clean-up effort.
On a visit to Louisiana, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the federal government plans to protect workers’ rights during the oil spill cleanup – regardless of their immigration status.
Federal immigration officials have been visiting command centers on the Gulf Coast to check the immigration status of Hispanic response workers hired by BP and its contractors.