California: How They Do It
Posted on: 2007-08-22 11:39:50
Organizing day labor
By MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
It's nothing more than a small folding table and a shade tent. But for a third of the roughly 150 day laborers who stand on street corners in Fulton, it represents much more.
At a time when immigration officials say they will crack down on employers of illegal immigrants, an orderly hiring process is coming to Fulton Avenue, to help the day laborers, most of whom are illegal residents, get jobs.
And within three weeks a permanent structure will be in place in Graton, where a similar table has been helping the 60 out of about 100 day laborers there who like the organized effort to find work.
"The jornaleros (day laborers) have been a face of Fulton for years," said Leticia Romero, a St. Joseph Health System organizer who has been guiding the development of the Fulton Day Labor Center since last September.
"This has been an effort to bring in an organized and dignified hiring process," Romero said.
Immigration officials said it's against the law for residents and businesses to hire an illegal immigrant, regardless of how small the job. But as with any law enforcement agency, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement prioritizes its targets and is not likely to sweep through the centers.