Eye on Texas: Xiomara, a Domestic Worker Who’s ‘Invisible in Austin’
Xiomara, a domestic worker from southern Mexico photographed while folding sheets in a client’s home in West Austin, moved to the United States illegally with her husband in 2002. She found work cleaning homes; her husband worked in construction. Both experienced multiple wage thefts and long stretches of unemployment. After an on-the-job injury almost left her husband paralyzed, Xiomara started a worker’s cleaning cooperative in 2010 and now has a steady income, a community of fellow business owners, and some legal protections from exploitation as an undocumented worker. I photographed Xiomara and nine others as part of the book project Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City, stories of Austin residents who are disenfranchised from the city’s high-tech financial success. The book was excerpted in the Observer in September.