Pati is a 44 year-old immigrant from Mexico. She left three older children behind to come to this country to support her family. When she arrived in the Washington D.C. area, she found a cleaning job. But the work didn’t pan out for her. And she started selling home-made tamales and tacos on the streets to the many Mexican immigrants.

Although it is common to have underground businesses in the immigrant communities, it isn’t always safe, especially when it comes to food products. Some locals saw Pati selling her tamales and hiding from the police, and invited her to join a local city-run market. They promised support. Skeptical at first, Patti eventually saw the invitation as an opportunity she couldn’t pass. Within months, she was a licensed food vendor with a growing business.

Reporter Eliza Barclay brings her story.

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