From the Queens Courier:
Under the rumbling No. 7 line el along Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights hangs the red, blue and yellow sign of the Ecuadorian consulate. Clusters of down-and-out men sit on the sidewalk around the sign, waiting for a job that never comes. Most haven’t worked in weeks – or months, in some cases.
The immigrants’ usual living arrangement of two to three people per apartment is now closer to seven or eight as they struggle to pay the rent. Some can’t afford housing and become homeless. Those without documentation hesitate to seek social services and must often ask their families in Ecuador for money.
There are about 600,000 Ecuadorians in New York State and a third of them live in Queens, according to the advocacy group International Ecuadorian Alliance. Only 10 to 15 percent of the immigrants have documents, the group says.
The rest come to the country by any means they can find, often paying as much as $15,000 for the trip. Once they are here, they work primarily in construction or restaurants. A small number start modest businesses.