The farms that straddle both Missouri’s Interstate 70 — which connects the state’s two most populous cities, Kansas City in the west and St. Louis in the east — beckon migrant workers in search of a better quality of life.
Many families move from California, Texas or Mexico for better paying farm work and safer living conditions in Missouri’s agricultural fields and factories. In the process some push their children - usually native-born to the U.S. - to get a good education and graduate from college.
But sudden changes such as losing a job or an illness can strike a blow to families on the path to their American dream. Such is the story of the Ruiz family, who like most farmworkers in the U.S. have roots in Mexico, but now consider the Midwest home.
Reporting for this story was supported by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.