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Aired July 27, 2013 - 22:00   ET


MORGAN SPURLOCK, CNN HOST (voice-over): They're undocumented immigrants, and they know where it comes from, because they pick the oranges that are in it. They also pick the tomatoes in your salad, mow your lawns, clean your hotel rooms, hang your drywall, even help raise your children. Right now, there is an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country today.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It was possible for 11 million illegals to come here. Why is it impossible for them to leave?

SPURLOCK: People who oppose immigration reform say these workers are just feeding off the system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vast majority of illegal aliens are consuming welfare programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have illegals coming here, taking jobs. We have people at home that need these jobs.

SPURLOCK: But are businesses really ready to get rid of such cheap and dependable labor? How many jobs are immigrants really taking away from Americans? It may be a policy debate in Washington, but in the orange groves of Polk County, Florida, it's a life of fear, back- breaking labor, and the looming threat of deportation.

This is the hardest I've ever worked for 93 cents.

Florida, Palm trees, retirees, manatees, and one of the largest communities of farm workers in the country. On any given day, about 400,000 farm workers are tending to crops and fields. In fact, Florida produces about 63 percent of all citrus grown in the U.S., and Polk County produces more of it than any other county in the state, with about 30 million boxes harvested per year. Chances are pretty good that if you had an orange today, it came from Polk County and a migrant worker picked it.

The thing for me that I don't understand is everybody says well, we have got all these high unemployment rates, but there is all these jobs that no American citizens will actually go apply for. People could go and pick strawberries, pick, you know, oranges, pick whatever, but they don't. So, today hopefully I'll kind of start to gain some insight into why exactly that is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. Welcome to Polk works. How may I help you?

SPURLOCK: Yes. I want to speak to someone about getting a job in agriculture.


SPURLOCK: Polk works is a job placement center for Polk county residents. They help place workers in all kinds of industries, including the agricultural industry.


SPURLOCK: It's the perfect place for me to find a job.

People who pick produce like oranges can come here and basically find out what jobs are available within the community.



So, what I want to find out is how hard is it to get one of these jobs? Are there not enough Americans to fill these jobs?

MOLLIE BROWN-FERRIER, EMPLOYMENT COUNSELOR: So you're looking at citrus harvesting.

SPURLOCK: Correct.

And why aren't there if that is the case? Why do we have to get visa workers from Mexico to come over to do these jobs if there are so many people unemployed in states right now? So how many jobs in citrus and agriculture per calendar year do you have?

BROWN-FERRIER: Last year we had about 7,000 different job openings.

SPURLOCK: Wow. And these jobs are open to Americans?

BROWN-FERRIER: Absolutely.

SPURLOCK: And how many people came in and applied for those?

BROWN-FERRIER: Actually about 1500 came in and applied for this and out of this about 336 were hired.

SPURLOCK: How many of them stay?

BROWN-FERRIER: I think technically, about five percent overall are the ones that actually stay.

SPURLOCK: Five percent out of 336? I mean, that's like 15, 16 people.

BROWN-FERRIER: Yes. SPURLOCK: Sixteen people for 7,000 jobs. So who take those jobs?

BROWN-FERRIER: They usually come from outside the United States then.

SPURLOCK: Right. I just can't believe only five percent. That's incredible.

BROWN-FERRIER: But in this, may be part of the reason why. The worker will carry an 18 to 20-foot ladder to the particular area of the grove to be harvested. Fully loaded picking sack weighs between 80 and 100 pounds, depending on the variety of the fruit.

SPURLOCK: Wow. And what is the pay for something like that?

BROWN-FERRIER: Valencia oranges, we're looking at 95 cents per 95 field box.

SPURLOCK: So, per giant sack, you would get, would be 95 cents? Wow.

BROWN-FERRIER: All right. So are you still interested?




BROWN-FERRIER: We're going to actually refer you.

SPURLOCK: The thing that I want to do now is see what this job is really like. Go out, work in the field, and just see how difficult and strenuous it is and try and get a better sense of why people aren't taking these jobs.

Of course, some people are taking these jobs, immigrant labors. There is mainly two ways that farms and citrus groves find workers. One way is the H-2A guest worker visa program, a sort of stopgap measure designed to get immigrant workers in the field without granting them permanent residency. It's neither a path to citizenship nor particularly popular with the agriculture industry.

So that leaves undocumented immigrants. After surviving a dangerous border crossing, they take whatever jobs they can find and generally live life in the shadows to avoid being deported. Most see the risk as the only way to make a better life for themselves and their families.


SPURLOCK: Carlos is a 20-year-old undocumented immigrant. Born in Mexico, Carlos was brought to America as a 6-month-old infant with his migrant farm working family. Since he was 9 years old, he has been working in the fields with his father, Pascual, picking tobacco, oranges, and onions. Despite living here his entire life, Carlos still lives under the same constant fear of prosecution and deportation. He and Pascual have agreed to teach me how to pick oranges before I start my first day of work tomorrow.

CARLOS: Have you ever picked oranges or done any kind of field work?

SPURLOCK: I mean, I've picked things off trees, but you pick one, you know, you pick it you eat it. I've never, you know, had to pick 2500 to fill a tub. I think I'm going to be sore by the end of the day tomorrow.

CARLOS: Well, my dad, he is 49.


CARLOS: I know people that are 70 picking oranges, because it's a necessity.


CARLOS: You have to. But hopefully, if I can better myself, I can help my family. What he did for me, I'll do it for him.

SPURLOCK: What do you want to do with your life?

CARLOS: I really want to go to law school.

SPURLOCK: You want to be a lawyer?

CARLOS: Yes. A lawyer.

SPURLOCK: Amazing.

Even with his good attitude and grades, it's going to be tough for Carlos to become a lawyer. As an undocumented immigrant, Carlos is prohibited from practicing law in the United States. Where do I pull? The driveway?

CARLOS: This is it.

SPURLOCK: He can't even get a job except as an illegal hire. So he still works in the fields just like his father. That is a very heavy ladder, very top-heavy ladder. You know what I think is easier for me? I think I want to carry this ladder like this. So where are we going?

Carlos' father Pascual has been working in American fields more than 20 years. And to celebrate, last year he had open heart surgery. But he didn't have much time to recuperate. He was back working in the fields six weeks later.

As an undocumented immigrant, he can't file for disability payments. So if he doesn't pick, he doesn't get paid. With a family to feed and a hospital bill to pay, not working is not an option. And so where should you start when you're picking a tree?


CARLOS: Climb the ladder.

SPURLOCK: And you pull them straight off?

CARLOS: Kind of like twist it.

SPURLOCK: Pascual, have you fallen off a ladder?

CARLOS: No, thank God no.

SPURLOCK: So, that's one sack. How many more sacks to fill it up?


CARLOS: Ten and a half.


SPURLOCK: How long do you think it would take you to do one of these barrels?

Dos oras? T BROWN-FERRIER: res oras?


CARLOS: One hour. If you don't do the barrel in one hour, then do something else.

SPURLOCK: Then do another job.

CARLOS: Yes. So, you put it right there.

SPURLOCK: Put it right here?

CARLOS: Yes. Watch out with his ladder. But always put it next to a big limb, you know, that it's going to hold your weight.

SPURLOCK: How do you get the ones that are up in the top in the middle of the tree there?

CARLOS: Just climb right in the middle of the tree.

SPURLOCK: You have to climb up the tree?


SPURLOCK: Oh, man there is a bunch in here. I can't believe how much I'm learning. For example, did you know orange trees have thorns? These thorns are the ones you want to stay away from. It took me 15 minutes to fill up this one bag. Stop trying to make me feel bad!


SPURLOCK: I have to fill this bag in five minutes?


SPURLOCK: That's a lot of work. Mucho trabajo.


SPURLOCK: You said you were crazy?


SPURLOCK: I though he said $15 he would do it?


SPURLOCK: So give me some advice tomorrow. Since I'm going to be working all day tomorrow.


CARLOS: You're going to be really, really tired. You're not even going to be able to sit on a toilet.



SPURLOCK: I'm on my way to meet the crew I'll be picking with tomorrow. And after my lesson with Carlos and Pascual, I'm feeling pretty confident. Luckily for me, you know, I'm like a good foot and a half taller than Carlos and Pascual. So, I have a little bit of reach. So, I might be able to get the hard to reach oranges.

The workers I'm picking with are all H-2A guest workers. They are all here legally and temporarily. H-2A visas require the employer to provide housing and transportation for the guest workers, so workers have virtually no expenses while they're here. They send most of the money they make straight back to Mexico. And when the picking season is over, they'll return to their homes, their families, and their lives, all in the hopes of getting another h-2A visa next season, even though it does not provide a pathway to citizenship.

So, what is the quickest way to become an American citizen? Well, short of being born here, it's just like most things in life. It comes down to whom you know. If you want all access to the exclusive club USA, your best bet is to be related to someone who is already there legally, like a parent, a child, or spouse. They can sponsor you. And that at least gets your name on the list.

Of course, if you don't have family here, there is still some ways to get your foot in the door, like the EB-5 investor visa. This one is pretty easy to get, as long as you have a million dollars sitting around to invest in a new American startup. Great for business, but kind of rules out your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

But if all else fails, you can sponsor yourself. You've got to be pretty special, though, to get into the club that way. In fact, you've got to be positively extraordinary. People with certain skill sets or knowledge, you know, rocket scientists, entrepreneurs, and mathematicians for example, can get an alien of extraordinary ability visa. It makes sense. We need brilliant people who excel in their fields to help push the country forward. The only problem is that extraordinary is pretty subjective, meaning those visas have gone to professional bikini models, squash players, magician, even "Playboy" playmates.

None of that helps Carlos. Since he was brought here illegally, he is ineligible for any of these visas. It seems the U.S. government doesn't think fruit pickers and farm workers are extraordinary, even though a multibillion industry believes them to be invaluable.

Home sweet home.

CARLOS: Home sweet home.

SPURLOCK: I start work tomorrow. So tonight I'm moving in with the pickers and staying in the crew housing. How many guys stay in this house?

CARLOS: Ten. So you're 11.

SPURLOCK: Hola. I'm Morgan. Mi llamo Morgan. Eric is the crew leader and my new boss. Just 23-years-old, he is an American citizen whose parents were pickers. Are you guys in charge of cleaning it too?


SPURLOCK: As a foreman with tough quarters to reach, it's his job to make sure he gets the absolute best out of every person in the field, including me.


ERIC: Standard issue.

SPURLOCK: Standard issue. That's a good-looking brand-new bag. See that?

ERIC: All American.

SPURLOCK: That's an all American, red, white, and blue. What is the secret to go faster?

ERIC: Just move your hands.

SPURLOCK: Just move my hands. Don't even pay attention? Like Mr. Miyagi style. Just like be the orange.

If you spend six months living and working with ten guys, you want to make sure everybody gets along.

What can I help with?

So all responsibilities for cooking and cleaning are shared.

SPURLOCK: Cooks? Sure.

So who did the most tubs today?

ERIC: Nate did. The guy you're helping.


ERIC: He did ten.

SPURLOCK: Ten? So, it is a good day?

ERIC: That's a great day.


So, guys, why did you decide to do the H-2A visas rather than come into the country illegally?


SPURLOCK: How does the money compare here to the money you could make in Mexico. Like say this week you made $500. How long would it take you to make that in Mexico? A month?


SPURLOCK: So you can make a month's wages in one week?


SPURLOCK: Wow. You have family? You have a wife in Mexico? An esposa? And hijos? How many? So you'll be here when the baby is born?


SPURLOCK: So, you will be here when the baby is born?


SPURLOCK: Is your wife mad?


SPURLOCK: Yes. How many tubs do you guys think I'll be able to do tomorrow?


SPURLOCK: ONE? Come on. Just one? Really? OK.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five. OK. We'll see who is right.

ERIC: Are you nervous?


ERIC: You're not nervous?

SPURLOCK: Why? Should I be?

ERIC: I'm just saying like -- SPURLOCK: I should be nervous. That's what you're saying.

ERIC: A little bit.

SPURLOCK: A little bit.

Work starts before dawn. While most people are still sleeping, we're heading out to the fields for the day. So it's 5:45 in the morning. I got up almost an hour ago to help make lunch for all the guys are going out today and for myself.

Good morning.

And we'll be on the field and picking by 7:00.

Most workers are young men with wives and children back home. Yet they leave those families for at least half the year to work in these fields.

ERIC: Here is your ladder.

SPURLOCK: Right. Which way should I head? Just where everybody else is going?

ERIC: Yes. Just head straight down.


ERIC: And I'll meet you down there.


Carry my ladder. Got to carry it about, I don't know, a quarter mile, half mile to where I'm picking today. This is my line of trees right here. So I'll work down until I meet whoever that is on the other end somewhere in the middle. It's around $9.50 per tub. So my goal is to get at least six. If I was going to really make a living wage, I need to have that first tub filled in an hour. Right here, go ahead and do these.

Pascual recommended from picking from the top of the tree down, but I'm going to try my own technique and start at the bottom.

I just feel like from the ground I can get a lot without having to get on the ladder.

ERIC: You can get two at a time if you want. The faster you move, the more.

SPURLOCK: -- the more you pick, OK. I'm going to kill it today.

ERIC: I have never had a white person on my crew. I've heard stories where Americans don't cut it at this job. They expect an easy job and it's really not that easy. It's heavy work.

SPURLOCK: See how that didn't even cover the bottom of that? At least the oranges that we were picking yesterday were about that big, you know. These, look at this. It's like a nectarine. I think I need to get the ladders now.

I finally understand Pascual's strategy, because the last thing I feel like doing right now is climbing up the damn ladder. I have a feeling that is going to fall. Let's see. This ladder, this sucks. Is that going to stay? I think one more bag; I'll be done with my first bin which isn't bad.

ERIC: Almost full, Morgan?

SPURLOCK: How many more bags does that need?

ERIC: It looks like it needs two more.

SPURLOCK: Two more?

ERIC: I'm going to help you out with one, though.

SPURLOCK: Something tells me Eric doesn't have much faith in me. But if he is going to help me fill the tub, I'll take the pity. How many tubs have guys gotten done so far?

ERIC: Each guy like around roughly two or three.

SPURLOCK: In the time it's taken me to do one?

ERIC: Yes.


ERIC: You'll be all right.

SPURLOCK: Eric, he is one to rub it in how slow I am. Is that one?

ERIC: Yes.

SPURLOCK: Nice! Two hours for my first tub?

ERIC: Yes.

SPURLOCK: Is that pretty terrible?

ERIC: Just about.

SPURLOCK: All right. See you in a bit, man.

ERIC: All right.

SPURLOCK: So it took me two hours to fill one tub, which it's $9.50. So I made $4.75 an hour for my first two hours. Now it's time to get back to work.


SPURLOCK: So far I've been picking oranges for three hours. I can honestly tell you it does not get easier as the day goes on. For so- called unskilled labor, it's a lot tougher than it looks. That's two down. Lots more to go.

I'm not just the worst picker in the field today. I'm also the only American citizen. Every single worker here with me today is a foreign citizen on an H-2A visa. But H-2A is unpopular with most employers. In fact, only four percent of businesses that can use it do so. Riverfront packing is the largest grapefruit distributor in Florida, and they don't participate in the program.

DANIEL RICHEY, PRESIDENT, RIVERFRONT PACKING: We have an adequate local workforce that we have not been forced into or pushed into participating with the H-2A program.

SPURLOCK: Like many businesses as they find the regulations that come with H-2A to be expensive and burdensome.

RICHEY: The housing is a cost. The transportation to get them to and from, and sometimes they don't stay. I think it was noble effort, but we need to recognize that it's a much broader issue. We don't really know the level of illegal immigrants working here. Do we have everybody here properly documented? And do we meet the letter of the law? Absolutely. But as I was told once when I asked this question at a seminar, well, what if I see a document that I'm not sure is legal. The question I got was, are you an immigration officer? If you question that, you could be subject to discrimination charges.

I think if all the undocumented workers were all to be deported; the people that think food comes from the grocery store would be in for a rude awakening.

SPURLOCK: And in 2011, Alabama and Georgia made an effort to do just that. Crack down on all the undocumented immigrants in the workforce. They did with a campaign of tough new laws, like making it a crime to transport or harbor immigrants who are in the country illegally, as well as mandatory use of the federal E verify system to check a worker's documents against the federal database.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe we have the strongest immigration bill in the country.

SPURLOCK: Undocumented workers were spooked by the laws and left for other states that haven't passed such harsh immigration policies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told many people this is actually probably the largest economic development job creation bill that the state of Alabama has ever passed.

SPURLOCK: Sure, if by economic development he means states and businesses losing billions of dollars in income and tax revenue. With no undocumented immigrants working, crops literally rotted in the fields.

After half a day, I can tell you firsthand why nobody came to replace the immigrant workers. The work is excruciating. I've been here since 7:00, and I've still only finished two bins. Ah (bleep), look at that. They're falling out of my bag.

Yes, absolutely. It's lunch time. How many tubs do you have?


SPURLOCK: Cinco. So what was the quota today you have to hit?

ERIC: I have to hit three trailers and that's like eight tubs per person.

SPURLOCK: I don't think I'm going to hit eight tubs.

ERIC: Morgan's pace compared to everyone now, it is like on one to ten, he would be two which is as many tubs as he should all day.

SPURLOCK: Have any of the guys out here worked with Gringos before?


SPURLOCK: And how long did they last?


SPURLOCK: So I'm already doing as good as that guy.

ERIC: He is coming to meet you, so you better --.

SPURLOCK: I better pick up the pace.


SPURLOCK: I'm going to get four today, at least. At least cuatro. Another half hour of hard work and I've only got about halfway through my third bin. But before I can even celebrate --

ERIC: You almost done, Morgan?

SPURLOCK: Eric, the foreman is back, pushing me to meet the quota.

Third one is almost done. So, I'm about more than half way. How much time have we got left?

ERIC: Another hour and a half.


I'm so tired. I'm missing my own bag. I don't feel it in my legs. But boy, right in my lower back. I tell you, there and in my forearms, just from like this repetitive motion of like -- so one of the workers asked me, what do you think it would take for an American to come out here and do this job. I think it would take like $30 an hour, guaranteed, like not even based on the buckets that they get. And then when you go to the grocery store, your orange juice would cost $12. Because after being here, I tell you what, I don't think most of you would do this job. That's the fact. Sounds like it's time to go. So I couldn't get paid for this one today because it's not full. Oh, man. So now if you look at what I made today, I only finish lead bins, $28.50. $2.85 an hour over ten hours.

ERIC: Morgan, time to go.

SPURLOCK: That's like 3 2/3.

ERIC: Yes. So was it easy?

SPURLOCK: Absolutely not. It was even harder than I expected it would be.

ERIC: But you exceed my expectations.


ERIC: I figured you would have quit.

SPURLOCK: Thanks for having so much faith.

ERIC: You pulled through. You pulled through.

SPURLOCK: Let's go home.

ERIC: Let's go.

SPURLOCK: I couldn't even imagine, like, having to do this every day, six days a week for your whole life, very hard.


SPURLOCK: Three and two-thirds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not too bad for a first day.

SPURLOCK: But not too good.


SPURLOCK: Not too good.

After an incredibly long day picking oranges, I can't wait to go to bed. But it's Friday, and that's payday. So the bus makes a last stop at plaza Mexico. Plaza Mexico is a one-stop shop for H-2A workers. It's a shopping center, restaurant and bank, all rolled into one. This place is busy. How many guys come into and cash their checks?

ERIC: Like at least 600 or more. About 200 are from our company.

SPURLOCK: OK. They wire money home as well?

ERIC: Yes. Over there, Sigue.

SPURLOCK: How much do most guys send home?

ERIC: He would have to leave like 50 for groceries and like 20 for like laundry.

SPURLOCK: So guys, are usual I will only keeping back 60, $70?

ERIC: Yes.

SPURLOCK: It's like a casino in here. It's like -- so much money changing hands. When we do head back to the camp, I discover a little keepsake from my day. I hit my leg on the bus. Why did that hurt so much? I pulled up my pant leg, and I have a thorn stuck in the side of my leg. So, let's see if we can't take that out now. Look at that. A little souvenir I can keep forever to remind me of my long day of back-breaking labor.

You know, I feel like what I got to experience, you know, was something most people will never get to. And I think it's eye- opening, because it does give you a tremendous more respect for these guys and what they do. I will be thinking about them every single time I have a glass of orange juice for the rest of my life.

ERIC: I'm going to miss you!

SPURLOCK: Thank you for everything.

ERIC: You're welcome.


SPURLOCK: By most people's standards, picking oranges is low pay for hard work. But for the H-2A worker, it's a decent paying job. While it isn't luxurious, it's safe and it's legal. With H-2A workers making up less than five percent of the workforce, the other 95 percent have to live somewhere.

Carlos and Pascual, the men who taught me how to pick oranges, have invited me home to meet the rest of the family.

Hey, how are you?

CARLOS: And this is my mother.

SPURLOCK: A lot of people think undocumented immigrants are somehow abusing our social system. But in reality they're not even in the system.

CARLOS: This is my home.

SPURLOCK: They aren't eligible for benefits, even if many of them live well below the poverty line.

CARLOS: This is our kitchen.


CARLOS: Sometimes when it rains, it leaks. But we still keep warm during the winter when it does rain.

SPURLOCK: Hi! How are you? Kumusta?

CARLOS: And this is my room. Like I said, it's not the best of rooms, but here is where I've been able to get straight A's from this desk. I'm really thankful for that.

SPURLOCK: So what do you think over the course of the year, like the total salary, both you have bringing in for the whole year to support your family?


CARLOS: Together, like with her working in the egg factory or the egg farm and him working in still as a migrant worker, it's like $25,000.

SPURLOCK: And that's to support a family of one, two, three, four, five, and plus your sister. So it's like to support a family of six?

CARLOS: That's -- yes. You see where we're at.

SPURLOCK: Do you guys pay taxes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) and you still got to pay taxes.

SPURLOCK: And does your employer take it out, or do you pay it?


SPURLOCK: They take them out of the check.


SPURLOCK: So you pay taxes to the state of Florida. So what do you get in return for paying those taxes?



SPURLOCK: Do you still believe in the American dream?


CARLOS: We can become something else other than being a farm worker. We can be lawyers. We can be doctors. We can accomplish anything we set our mind to.

SPURLOCK: Would you be happy if he became a lawyer?


SPURLOCK: Pascual's family wants to live the American dream, and they're willing to work hard to achieve their goals, no matter the obstacles. And believe me, there are a whole lot of obstacles.

If you're an undocumented immigrant, you can't get a Social Security card. And Without one of those, you can't get Medicare, Welfare, Social Security or unemployment benefits. You can't apply for most jobs and you can't get most credit cards. You can't even get a fishing license. You are not illegible for financial aid for college, federally funded health insurance or an employment-based health plan. What you are eligible for is the draft. You also get to pay taxes. Apparently the one thing that is easy for an undocumented worker to get is a bill from the IRS. In fact, in most states you can't even get a driver's license, which means that every single time you get behind the wheel, you risk losing everything.

So, you have never been pulled over before?

CARLOS: Thankfully, yes.

SPURLOCK: If Carlos or any member of his family is pulled over for even a minor infraction, they could be jailed for 48 hours until an immigration enforcement officer comes to interrogate them. They could be subject to any number of punishments from getting a ticket to being deported and banned from returning to the U.S. for an entire decade.

Pascual, do you worry when he drives the car?


SPURLOCK: Right. Because he could get pulled over one time and that could be it.


SPURLOCK: For Carlos' family, immigration reform isn't a political issue. It's the difference between a life lived with hope or a life lived in fear.


SPURLOCK: I'm in Claremont, Florida this morning with Carlos, who is here today to participate in a march, organized by forward with your promise, an immigration rights group.

CARLOS: We're out here to make sure that Obama keeps his promises.

SPURLOCK: When Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008, he promised an overhaul of immigration in the United States and he did just that. President Obama deported nearly as many undocumented immigrants, 1.5 million, in his first term than George W. Bush in both his terms combined.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're trying to do is not just raise awareness about the broken immigration system, but to say stop with the deportations until you fix the problem.

SPURLOCK: Right. Now that Obama has been reelected, he is making another promise that a comprehensive immigration reform will be in place by the end of his first year of his second term. But not everyone believes that will happen.

What is holding up these things getting pushed through?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just don't want this crowd, you know, in the ascendancy mix.

SPURLOCK: Right. Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My personal opinion is in part because they're brown.

SPURLOCK: No brown people in power?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you know, it's the demographic is changing, you know. And this -- if this crowd gets legalized, you know, it's a young community with children. They're voters.

SPURLOCK: So just how important is the Latino vote? As the fastest growing minority group in the U.S., Latinos make up 16 percent of the population. In you want to be president of the United States, you need their support. And savvy politicians are already going after it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ben Venidos, welcome to the White House.



SPURLOCK: In 2008, 67 percent of the Latino vote went to Barack Obama. And in 2012, they voted to reelect him, with 71 percent of their vote, a vote they expect to lead to change.

CROWD: Hey, Obama, don't deport my Mama! Hey, Obama, don't deport my Mama!

SPURLOCK: But immigration reform is too big of an issue for just one party. So the marchers have made their way to Orlando, Florida, where they have assembled outside the office of Republican senator Marco Rubio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In front of senator Rubio's office, we ask him to stand up and champion our cause.

SPURLOCK: They're giving a couple of speeches. A lot of the local media have shown up. The plan is for them to march inside and get Senator Marco Rubio to make a statement. The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio has the youth, energy, and background story that connects with many Latinos. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: My grandfather was born to a farming family in rural Cuba.

SPURLOCK: And for a party that is woefully out of touch with 60 percent of the population, Rubio is the GOP's best shot at reaching this crucial vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His parents were Cuban exiles, and, you know, they did everything they could to guarantee him a better tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're trying to say, you know, champion the cause. Whether he is here or not, nobody ever says anything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's like we'll get back to you. You're an elected official. You should be available for the people.

SPURLOCK: Marco Rubio, 350.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can only have one group in the elevator at a time.

SPURLOCK: Many of these marchers are undocumented, and they're taking a huge risk just coming here today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We would like to speak to Mr. Rubio.

SPURLOCK: Because an arrest could lead to being held and deported.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse us. Excuse us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all just step back for a second? I was told there are six of you out here. Our room is not big enough to accommodate everybody. So if I could get five or ten of you that we could meet with, that would be great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would be glad to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Marco Rubio going to address the crowd?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator is in Washington today.

SPURLOCK: In Senator Rubio's absence, a few of us have been selected to have an audience with Todd Reed, the senator's state director.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need the Republicans to step forward. And we need them to help us.

CARLOS: I grew up here in Florida most of my life, but we migrated. I work with the youth. I've learned we're stuck in a position where we have to take the opportunities that are there. TODD REED, SEN. RUBIO'S STATE DIRECTOR: I don't know if any of y'all have had a chance to hear the senator talk about this issue. This is a very personal issue for him. And I think this year he is going to be taking a bigger approach. So I appreciate you guys coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much for your time.

REED: Thank you all very much as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome. Thank you so much.

REED: Appreciate it. Thank you for being here.

SPURLOCK: It was kind of like a very, very exciting democracy in action moment today.

REED: I'm going to get the senator on this, but I would anticipate in the next few weeks you're going to hear him speak very clearly where he is on this issue.

SPURLOCK: Maybe this is just a first step for them. So, we will see what happens in the next few weeks. But I think this could have been the catalyst toward something bigger happening.


SPURLOCK: As planned, the forward with your promise group marched on to Washington, where they got their meeting with Senator Rubio. But they had to wait a few more weeks to finally get a taste of what they all came to Washington for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to announce a set of bipartisan principles for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

SPURLOCK: The Gang of Eight are a group of senator, including Senator Rubio, who have joined together across party lines to agree that immigration reform needs to happen, and it needs to happen now, maybe not for the best reasons.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time ever, there is more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it.

SPURLOCK: But if reform is the result, that's all that matters to people like Carlos.

It's a pretty campus.

CARLOS: Yes. It is.

SPURLOCK: All of Pascual's sacrifices have paid off, because with the help of private donations, Carlos has been able to enroll in a local college, where he can work toward earning a law degree.

CARLOS: This is (INAUDIBLE). I had to come and see you, Dr. Murphy. This is my father right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to meet you.

CARLOS: I'm showing him around the campus. Can I introduce you to my dad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Nice to meet you. You should be very proud of Carlos. He is definitely one of our prize students.

SPURLOCK: A kid as dedicated as Carlos deserves the chance to contribute to society. And if immigration reform becomes a reality, the possibilities are endless.


SPURLOCK: Right there.

CARLOS: Yes, on that hill.

SPURLOCK: How long ago was that?


CARLOS: He has never imagined that I'd end up coming here to go to school.

SPURLOCK: When you're here at school, you'll always have a reminder of the sacrifice that your dad made.

CARLOS: Yes, especially if one day I become a lawyer. I can't forget where I came from.


Congress is currently debating the plan to create legal pathways for undocumented immigrants, and a new guest worker program which would better meet our labor needs. But it could still be a long road, if and when these ideas are passed into law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soccer practice.

SPURLOCK: For Carlos, Pascual and others who risk their lives to work for the American economy and the American dream, time is of the essence.

CARLOS: This is one way to reach out to the community, because there is drugs and violence. People love soccer, so.

SPURLOCK: These immigrants are part of the fabric of our daily lives.

Thank you. Thanks for your time. Thank you very much.

And it's time they're allowed to live openly and work toward making a legitimate life for themselves and for their children.

I think that Carlos will work every day and night to become a lawyer just so he can hear his father say look at this, look at my son, the son of a fruit picker became a lawyer. That's -- that's powerful.

From the company I worked for in Florida picking oranges, there is my check, $86.73 big ones. Now in actuality, I only should have gotten paid for three tubs, $28.50. But since they can't pay you below minimum wage, I got the minimum wage adjustment, which is $65.47. This is probably one of the hardest jobs I've ever done in my life, yes.