Thursday, October 11, 2007


There is a problem in some parts of the country with day labor sites. They are community centers, sometimes funded by the government, where people can go to find temp work for a day or two.

Here in Elgin we don’t exactly have day labor sites. Oh, there are temp agencies with all sorts of people hanging around in the morning, but the agency is responsible for their paperwork.

And we do have an active scene in the parking lots of hardware stores at daybreak. But we don’t have community day labor centers.

But in Orange California they do. And the city council there voted to crack down on the activities of the center by requiring the would-be workers to present documents and register for services. They simply didn’t want to be a party to illegal hiring practices. I can understand that.

So they passed an ordinance requiring every laborer to sign a federal compliance form and present two forms of ID.

So how did the first day of the new ordinance turn out? Well, the compliance form hadn’t yet been translated into Spanish so they didn’t do that part. But they DID check everyone for the two forms of ID from the approved I-9 document list; the same requirement you and I complied with when we were hired for our jobs. Here’s what they found out on day one:

Out of the 30 people who showed up to work, only SIX had two forms of ID! And they weren’t screening Social Security card numbers or doing any fraudulent document detection. 80% of day laborers couldn’t come up with two pieces of paper (irrespective of quality) proving they had a right to work in the United States!

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