Not only are they 'illegal,' they're menace to society
by Kathy McGee
Absolutely, positively no.
Let's make one thing clear: Day labor centers are for the benefit of illegal aliens. Legal immigrants can go to Department of Economic Security job centers and dozens of legitimate temporary labor agencies throughout the Valley.
Phoenix blatantly thumbs its nose at federal law by illegally building these centers for illegal aliens. INA § 274 states that encouraging "an alien to . . . reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such residence is or will be in violation of the law," or who "aids and abets the commission of any of the preceding acts" has committed a federal felony. Obviously, helping illegal aliens find work is "encouraging" them to "reside in the United States," so why isn't the entire Phoenix City Council, which voted unanimously for the day labor center, being prosecuted and sent to jail?
INA § 274A makes it unlawful to recruit an alien for employment or refer him for a fee, so the city is illegally facilitating employers who are illegally hiring these aliens. Councilwoman Peggy Neely said in an April 20, 2002 Republic article that "hiring immigrants for occasional day work is not unlawful." Unfortunately for Neely, I don't believe the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with her.
At a recent Phoenix zoning hearing, some 40 residents and business owners near the current day labor center attended. Thirty-two signed up to speak against expanding that center's hours. Area residents provided dozens of photos showing hundreds of illegal immigrants still loitering around the neighborhood.
Residents complained of increased loitering, littering, illegal soliciting, harassment, begging, drug dealing, prostitution, public urination, intoxication, trespassing and off-hours operations. The zoning board, as usual, ignored the residents and voted 6-0 in favor of the proponents - all city employees or open-border advocates, not one of whom lives near the labor center.
Let's get another thing clear: This is not about race or racism. If the hiring hall were for illegal Canadians, Britons or Asians, we would oppose it just as strongly - not just because it's illegal, but also because it's part of the attractive nuisance Phoenix has created that entices illegal aliens up here.
State and local officials declare ad nauseum that illegal immigration is a federal problem. For sure, the feds need to secure our borders with the military - just like three-fourths of Americans want, but cities like Phoenix and states like Arizona have created an unbelievable billion-dollar-a-year welfare state at taxpayers' expense that lures illegal immigrants here.
The fact that there are few jobs for legal residents on the lowest rung of the skills ladder, much less for unskilled laborers who can't even speak English, doesn't seem to phase the Phoenix City Council. Every taxpayer in Phoenix is paying for this nonsense, so that a few greedy people can save a few bucks.
If the Macehualli Work Center has gotten 150 to 200 people a day off the street, it's been at the expense of luring hundreds more to the area who are still harassing area residents, littering, loitering, begging and trespassing.
Where would the money come from to deport illegal immigrants pursuant to law? The approximate $1 billion illegal immigrants cost the state (and there's no telling what they cost the city) every year would cover it. President Eisenhower deported 1 million illegal immigrants in 1954, so there is a system in place that can and sometimes does work.
Recently a TV reporter repeatedly said, "but these people are here working." Is working an excuse to break our laws? "They come here to work" is not even totally true. Americans for Immigration Control reports that 25 percent of federal prisoners are immigrants. Bill O'Reilly reports one-third of illegal immigrants are on welfare; and "Public Costs of Immigration" says that immigrants are 50 percent more likely to get welfare than natives - with a whopping 70 percent being more likely to get food stamps, at a cost of $3.7 billion a year.
So, a fair number of illegal immigrants come here to commit crimes and a larger number to get welfare. Day labor center advocates admit that only one-third of the people at the center get jobs in a day, while a recent article in another paper quoted a Phoenix illegal alien testifying in court that he was up north because "only about 15 percent of the people" at Macehualli get jobs.
A Feb. 16 Republic article reported "unemployment" is 100 percent at some work centers in California, so day laborers peddle drugs for street gangs for pocket change. Proponents say the center needs to attract more employers - in other words, the city needs to coerce more employers to lay off citizens and legal immigrants, then hire illegal aliens?
Day labor centers are bad news for taxpayers, the community, nearby residents, legitimate temp agencies, property owners in the area, and traffic. Did I mention they're illegal, too?
For 35 years, McKee has been a champion of abused and neglected children, animal welfare, senior citizens, indigents (all legal), preserving Arizona history, the environment and insight meditation. She is the state director for the upcoming Protect Arizona NOW Committee.
Protect Arizona NOW is holding a news conference announcing the biggest
political event in Arizona for 2003-04 . . . maybe even the whole
country--a petition drive to have a Proposition 187-type initiative
on the 2004 Arizona ballot.
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