Apr 29 2010
Sorry for the light posting again – on travel for a couple of weeks.
It has not been hard to understand how to manage migrant or guest workers in the US. It has just been a lack of political will and reasonableness. Those willing to do what it takes to work here will follow the processes, those who don’t shouldn’t be here. I still support the comprehensive immigration reform package that Bush, McCain and Kyle pushed. But it seems AZ has developed its own path forward, with a surprising and rewarding result:
Many of the cars that once stopped in the Home Depot parking lot to pick up day laborers to hang drywall or do landscaping now just drive on by.
Arizona’s sweeping immigration bill allows police to arrest illegal immigrant day laborers seeking work on the street or anyone trying to hire them. It won’t take effect until summer but it is already having an effect on the state’s underground economy.
“Nobody wants to pick us up,” Julio Loyola Diaz says in Spanish as he and dozens of other men wait under the shade of palo verde trees and lean against a low brick wall outside the east Phoenix home improvement store.
Many day laborers like Diaz say they will leave Arizona because of the law, which also makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and directs police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants.
This is the opposite tact my home of Herndon, VA took – which was one of the first flash points in the immigration discussions. The town tried to set up a place for day workers to congregate and meet potential day employers. It worked – for a long time the workers were not milling around the downtown 7-11 causing havoc.
But then the town had to close down the day worker center, and guess what – the day workers are back downtown.
I would not be surprised to see all the border states start to consider this kind of step, given the incredible burden on our government resources the illegal (non tax paying) workers and their families are in these tight budgetary times. I think VA should seriously look at this option. Whatever it takes to turn our streets back to centers of commerce and leisure, instead of an endless unemployment line.