“Our family in Venezuela tells us to stick it out, because everything is worse there.”
Rita González landed in Miami four months ago with just $200 in cash. She paid the money to an “agency” to find her a job. She and two friends split a $2,000-per-month salary to clean a restaurant before dawn. Now she's finding jobs for others and living in a house in Doral where she rents out rooms.
Last night was the final straw. I'm not going back to that job. You get to the restaurant at 9:00 p.m. and you have to clean everything: the kitchen, the bathrooms, the tables, everything, until 5:00 a.m. It's really tough. Do you know what it's like to spend every morning cleaning with just two other people?
The job pays $2,000, to be divided between people who work seven days a week. I made about $600 in May and June, but I’m too tired. It’s very, very hard.
I landed in Miami on February 25, 2016, with $200 in my pocket. I came alone because someone offered to find me a job. I paid $200 and I lost the money – he didn't get me anything.
But now I have my own agency, and I help find jobs for other people. I've worked mostly as a waitress in hotels. Some pay better than others, like $9.50 an hour, or $80 per day.
I rented a house in Doral. They didn't ask for a security deposit or the first month’s rent, but I rented it for $3,600 per month. (On Zillow, rent is listed at $2,100 per month). I rent out the two other bedrooms. Right now there are eight adults and one girl.
There are a lot of people here who help you, sympathetic people, and also people who cheat you and mess with you because they know you can't file a complaint against them. One guy sold us a car, which we paid for with our car in Venezuela. On the second day, the car broke down and he didn't want to hear about it. He insulted my husband and threatened to call immigration. When I have papers, I want to file a complaint against him, but right now I can't.
I’ve already sent food to my family. And they tell me: 'Don't you even think about coming back. Stick it out there. Everything is worse here.'