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A Look at the World of Migrant Farmworkers through the Eyes of a Child

Meet Jose Ansaldo. He’s the undocumented son of migrant farmworkers.

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Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

Although he’s been enrolled in seven different schools, Ansaldo is a standout math student.

Both of his parents work, which makes it difficult for Ansaldo get support with his studies at home. Ansaldo says there’s also a language barrier: “I have to do my homework alone because my mom and Jaime, they speak Spanish, not English.”

Jose found support from his third grade teacher, Oscar Ramos.

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Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

Ramos, also the son of migrant farmworkers, recognized Ansaldo’s enthusiasm for math and became his support system (and cheerleader) at school.

Ansaldo and Ramos are the focus of a new documentary titled East of Salinas. 

Credit: Independent Lens / YouTube

That doc illustrates the struggles – financial instability, cramped living quarters, gang violence – that many migrant farmworkers face while trying to provide for their children.

It shows what it’s like to see your father leave home to find work elsewhere…

Credit: Independent Lens / YouTube

And what it’s like for a teacher like Ramos, who can relate to many of his students, but can only do so much to help them.

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Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

It also illustrates how acutely aware Jose is of the sacrifices his parents are making to give him a better future.ansaldo-east-of-salinas-main

Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

Despite being an elementary school student, Ansaldo often thinks about helping his parents by getting a college education: “I try hard because I wanna help my family. By paying bills or buying food.”

Watch the full trailer:

Credit: UnitedWeStayorg / YouTube

Read more: East of Salinas on PBS.org

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Could the U.S. be Blamed for Gang Violence in El Salvador?

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Could the U.S. be Blamed for Gang Violence in El Salvador?

CREDIT: SEEKER STORIES / YOUTUBE

“It was Easier During the War.”

30 murders a day. Killers as young as 12. 80 percent of homicides gang-related. The violence in El Salvador is almost unfathomable…and in part, blamed on the U.S.

During the 12-year long civil war in the 1980s and early 90s, many Salvadorans emigrated to the U.S. and joined either La Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) or Barrio 18, both Los Angeles-based gangs. When the U.S. stepped in and started deporting gang members to their home country, all hell broke lose back in El Salvador.

READ: Rape, Murder, Kidnapping: The Reality of Teenage Girls in El Salvador

Photojournalist, Patrick Tombola, captured the deplorable state of the country during a recent. While documenting the lives of Salvadorans trapped in this violence, he heard something shocking: “One thing that people keep repeating is that it was easier during the war. At least, you knew who your real enemies were,” he said. “Today, anyone can be grabbing a gun and shoot at you without repercussions.”

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