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flag graphic  Ramón Barajas, 19, says life in the United States is not what he expected: The work is harder, the pay lower and the border crossing grueling. Barajas says he rode all night in the back of a truck, wedged in with other men lying on their sides. A broken muffler wafted hot exhaust under the truck bed and burned his skin. He can't wait to go home, but his family in Washington predicts he'll be back in no time. On a pruning crew in a Yakima pear orchard, Barajas earned $7.25 an hour lopping trees. In his hometown of Pajacuarán, Mexico, he'd earn $8 a day.

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