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When I first left Mexico and came to America 20 years ago, I never imagined trying to create a good life for my family would be almost impossible—and punishable by law. My name is Guadalupe and I am a wife, mother, and mobile food vendor.I’ve worked jobs ranging from housekeeper to attendant at a dry cleaners.Instead, we get fined and are put on a wait list to get a permit.
But commuting for hours every day at jobs I didn’t love prevented me from seeing the very people I was doing it for: my family. I began selling tamales door-to-door six days a week, sometimes going to bed around 2AM and waking up at 4AM to continue preparing for the upcoming day.
It was hard, but becoming a small business owner let me pick my hours; so the minute that bell rang and my kids were out of school, I could be around them.
Being a mobile food vendor gives me the best of both worlds: I can provide for my family while being around them.
But a cap enacted in the 1980s limits the number of available food permits so vendors like me who want to earn an honest living simply can’t.
New York City should be the heart in the land of opportunity, but instead, these caps limit opportunity for thousands every year.