Skip to comments.Study Gives Snapshot Of Day Laborers
Posted on 01/22/2006 10:24:03 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist
(AP) LOS ANGELES The immigrant day laborers who wait for work on street corners across the United States have families and attend church regularly, and the people who hire them are more likely to be individual homeowners than construction contractors.
The first nationwide study of day laborers also found that one in five has been injured on the job and nearly half have been cheated out of pay.
The study, the most detailed snapshot to date of the mostly Hispanic and often undocumented immigrants who've become a focal point in the immigration debate, was based on interviews of 2,660 workers at 264 hiring sites in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
The authors said they were surprised by the level of community involvement among men often thought of as transients.
"The day labor corner is not as disconnected from society as people think. It's seen as a shadow economy, but that's really not the case," said professor Nik Theodore of the University of Illinois at Chicago, one of three study authors. The others were from the University of California, Los Angeles, and New York's New School University.
Standing outside a Home Depot store in suburban Burbank on Sunday, 33-year-old Raul Sanchez said that when he's not working, or waiting for work, he's involved in a church and tried to start a soccer league for fellow day laborers. The native of Mexico has been in the United States seven years and lives with his wife and two children, ages 13 and 14.
Sometimes he worries about small work sites with little safety equipment.
"We know nobody is going to help us out if we get hurt," Sanchez said. "There are risks, but what are we going to do not work?"
As often as not, a day laborer's employer will be an individual rather than a labor contractor.
Forty-nine percent of respondents said they were regularly hired by homeowners for everything from carpentry to gardening, with 43 percent getting jobs from construction contractors. Two-thirds said they are hired repeatedly by the same employer.
Based on their interviews and counts at each hiring site, the researchers estimate there are about 117,600 day laborers nationwide, but say that number is probably low. They said it would be impossible to count the number of hiring sites nationwide, since some spring up spontaneously.
Among the other findings based on the interviews conducted in July and August 2004:
_Three-fourths were illegal immigrants and most were Hispanic: 59 percent were from Mexico and 28 percent from other Central American countries.
_Just over half said they attended church regularly, 22 percent reported being involved in sports clubs and 26 percent said they participated in community centers.
_Nearly two-thirds had children, 36 percent were married and seven percent lived with a partner.
_More than 80 percent rely on day labor as their sole source of income, earning close to the 2005 federal poverty guideline of $12,830 for a family of two.
_Of the 20 percent who reported on-the-job injuries, more than half said they received no medical care because they couldn't afford it or their employer refused to cover them.
Cesar Martinez, 45, another of the people waiting for work at the Home Depot in Burbank, is a Guatemala native who has been in the United States for 15 years without legal documentation. He said he sends $300 to $500 home every month to support his six children, ages 2 to 14, but that sometimes an employer rips him off.
"I couldn't complain because I'm not here legally, but I was so angry because I need every cent," he said. "I'm always thinking, 'Are they going to pay me, am I going to get to work 8 hours on this job, will I get hurt doing it?'"
Thanks for the ping!
Rulings have come down that illegals are entitled to workers compensation if injured on the job.
The state could seek reimbursement from the individual that hired the illegal for medical expenses paid out by the state for an injured illegal. I don't know whether homeowners insurance would cover it, since it is unlawful to hire illegals.
I said the same thing about Hatian illegals, and was flamed endlessely. Go figure.
Ah, the graffiti. A 178-unit public-housing project for 'low-income Latinos' opened in my neighborhood last year and almost immediately the graffiti started showing up. I wish the neighborhood association could sue the county for allowing (encouraging!) this kind of development. (Of course, not one of our delightful Multnomah County Commissioners lives within miles of our neighborhood. I wish that, for once, they'd plant an enormous welfare housing project for illegal aliens in one of the ritzier areas, but that'll be the day.)
My reaction is that if the employee had money deducted for workers comp insurance, the employee should get compensation regardless of legal status because this is insurance, not welfare.
Now if no payment was made for workers comp (or unemployment insurance for that matter), the employee should not collect for either illegals or citizens.
What I get from this is that about 117,600 of the 10 million or so illegals are decent people then. Might be enough to spare Sodom, but even if it were the full 10 million it would still not justify giving up our sovereignty.
You made a generalisation for which you were rightly corrected. I would not say you were flamed 'endlessly'.
The laws protect honest people from dishonest employers. I'm sure that this guy IS a good person but because he's illegal, I'm not surprised some trash contractor would stiff him. My sister sees it all the time working in the banking industry.
"_Three-fourths were illegal immigrants and most were Hispanic: 59 percent were from Mexico and 28 percent from other Central American countries..."
That pretty well substantiates what most of us have been writing and consistently so for a while now, despite being called "racists" and whatnot. Looks like the stats support the by-far majority of illegal aliens are from Mexico. It's a fact, and raising that point does not make anyone guilty of a pejorative (or more of them), to state the obvious.
Another thing, rhetorically: if these guys (the one quoted in this article, who seems on average about of the same situation as many others I've read of) feel so outraged at conditions based upon a responsibility to their family/ies, why are they leaving their families (wives, children) and making illegal entrance to another country, many hundreds of thousands of miles away, and, remaining here all these years...if they're so worried about their families, why aren't they home with them.
Does not ring true, sincere, to my read. I think a lot of these people are just here. They bring "families" into the explanations but their actions certainly don't bespeak of a highly responsible relationship to "family."
The expenses for living in the U.S. are far higher than living in Mexico and if they have substantial settings enough in Mexico (and whereever else) to actually HAVE "families" (a wife and children), it seems to me that they are very likely to also already have established homes in Mexico (and whereever) and, sneaking into the U.S. and remaining here for years on end illegally certainly does not seem realistic, nor responsible, for anyone who DOES have a wife and children. I think it's often a ruse, is my point, to try to make Americans feel guilty about an organized society otherwise (immigration requirements, the fact that one is supposed to apply for permission to enter the U.S./any other country, legitimacy in general).
I place the blame squarely at the feet of the US government, past and esp. present with President Bush's lax attitude towards this isue.
Mr. Sanchez says, "What are we going to do - not work?"
If only Americans - especially welfare recipients - could have that attitude!
I worry about the hordes of illegal immigrants just like everybody else on FR, but they came here for a reason. And a lot of that reason is that many, many Americans want to stand around, slack-jawed, waiting on a paycheck that they didn't earn.
Doesn't seem any worse than the native born welfare and housing project trash who I have dealt with.
Interesting. In the New York area, the illegals typically live in private housing. Public housing is largely occupied by the blacks and native-born Nuyoricans, who hand their apartments in the PJs down to their kids.
Three-fourths were illegal immigrants and most were Hispanic: 59 percent were from Mexico and 28 percent from other Central American countries.
I see the author fails to mention who or where the other 13% are from.
Seven years and still doing day labor. It must suit him well. Maybe he doesn't like rigid schedules or having to dress to please an employer. He can take off any day he wants and turn down work he doesn't like.
This man wants to be a day laborer. He could get hired at a conventional job today.
Employers are required to pay those amounts, but I don't imagine those amounts are being paid for people being picked up at street corners.
If an illegal gets injured on your property while working for you, he could sue you. If the government has to pay for the illegals medical bills through Medicaid, they can probably sue you (why should the taxpayers subsidize cheap labor). Since you are ostensibly breaking the law by hiring an illegal not to mention not withholding, your homeowners may not cover it.
IMO, it's hard for many Americans to appreciate how poor much of Mexico is; by comparison the economic prospects of a illegal worker in the US sending money home can look pretty attractive - and not only can such workers do this, large numbers in fact actually actually do so.
As a group Mexicans living and working illegally in the US not only manage to pay their living expenses but also manage to send around 15% of their total earnings back to Mexico, the Pew Trust study estimates this flow at around $10,000,000,000 a year - a pretty vivid demonstration that such work is a common and realistic way to support family members remaining in Mexico.
Given that this is a contribution to the Mexican economy at least as large as total earnings from tourism, such numbers suggest that not only individual Mexican families but the Mexican economy as a whole derives a significant portion of its activity from the savings of Mexicans working illegally in the US.
To stop illegal immigration of such workers by penalizing the workers rather than their employers you not only have to make their lives unpleasant, you have to make it more unpleasant than at home - which if home is Mexican poverty and unemployment is pretty tough to do.
So IMO if you wan to slow illegal immigration for economic gain you have to penalize someone who actully has someting something to lose... that is, their employers.
Oh, did I mention that their kids have no reason whatever to accept what they are GIVEN in school and have no respect for the general community...and that no one expects it from them.
IIRC, some professor at Pepperdine U. did a study of Los Angeles day laborers.
He found that they did NOT want to be given legitimate governmental status.
Even these refugees from Mexico recognize the benefits of not being
tangled in our taxation and "social security" system.
I don't know about the employee having money deducted for workers comp - because they are illigals, they are paid generally cash under the table and the employees aren't reported by the employer. Like the study said, most of the people who hire the illigals are homeowners to do work around the house, and homeowners don't usually carry workman's comp.
"Doesn't seem any worse than the native born welfare and housing project trash who I have dealt with."
isnt any better either is it? This is supposed to be our standard? We might as will let bank robbers go free; after all they stole no more money than the last guy! Seriously I find the description of this type of activity great additions to our community, and that it is no worse than it gets saddening to say the least!
"if the employee had money deducted for workers comp insurance"
That isn't a deductable item, it's totally the expense of the employer.
Homeowners that hire them should be arrested!
Same thing has happened in Green Bay.
Illegal aliens have taken over an apt complex and reduced the adjacent properties in value.