A Day In A Life of A Day Laborer When there is a large enough need for something in the United States, it will be met, even if meeting that need meaner allowing certain groups to easily enter the country to do the work that needs to be done; to do the work that perhaps no one else may be willing to do. Today, some perceive these groups as a necessity, but also as targets. Although day laborers have existed in California for a very long time, it wasn’t until the late sass’s and early sass’s, with a rise in day laborers, that they have become an issue and a focus in politics when looking at the effects upon our .
An Overview and Historical Perspective of Day Laborers * Definition economy. Of Day Laborers Before looking at the different perspectives of day laborers, we can get further insight by first examining the definition of this type of worker. According to the Los Angels Relations Committee; Day Laborer Hiring Sites, “a day laborer is a person, (usually men) who offer themselves to be hired as labor for a day, or some other temporary basis. The term also refers to skilled or unskilled workers. “Day laborers refer to people, usually men, who gather on sidewalks, parking lots, near building supply tortes, or wherever they can be visible to potential employers, waiting to get hired for short-term Jobs, whether it be cleaning a yard, moving heavy furniture, putting on a new roof, or painting a room. ” (Lactating) A. The national survey indicates that the overwhelming numbers of day laborers are Latino men. UCLA Professor Narrow researched and found that “more than half (59 percent) of day laborers were born in Mexico. (Probationary) Because most day laborers come from Mexico, they travel north to find work in the United States, entering either legally or illegally. These controversial immigrant laborers are then found on corners selling fruit and cold water; they can be found mowing our lawns, and digging our trenches as we construct our homes and skyscrapers. They are looked upon as an example of an underground economy, penetrating neighborhoods all around us.
Since most people perceive day laborers as undocumented workers, politicians have often become involved due to frequent community complaints from residents, businesses, and law enforcement. Politically, immigration has been a wedge issue and often divides Laotians, making immigrants an easy target as a topic of debate and political campaigning. B. Day laborers are more than willing to take on those Jobs that Americans don’t want; the popular one’s being agriculture, landscaping, and household help. Americans do not realize that they are saving us so much money.
By them taking on those menial Jobs for instance, picking fruit they earn low-wages, thus we do not pay a lot for that fruit in the grocery stores. Illegal immigrants are the driving force behind the economy’s growth with all the goods and services produced in the United States. The Economist’s View website states, “[E]economists concede that [some] native-born Americans may be hurt by competition from illegal immigrants who are willing to work cheaply. But any harm, they say, is outweighed by the benefits to the overall economy.
Restaurant prices are pushed down by illegal labor in the kitchen, fruit and vegetable prices by illegal field hands, new-home apparent, such as the rise in property values by homeowners. Their homes or apartments may be poorly maintained, but at least the numbers have a profound effect especially in a state that never has enough housing; including the hundreds of husbands of units rented to immigrant families putting the upward pressure on prices. Either way, immigrants are paid much lower than the average American worker and can be dependent on showing up to work every day and on time.
Whether illegal or legal, immigrants and their families are Just trying to earn a little money in order to gain a better and healthier life. Some families that come from another country into the U. S. Came with absolutely nothing. Most immigrants are not looking for a free handout; they Just want to be able to live a little bit happier, without being afraid. Most American people do not realize that the problem in the U. S. Is not the immigrant’s fault, but rather the Government and their lack of not doing anything to solve the problem.
It’s less complicated to take the easy way out by not facing up to their own irresponsibility, but rather to point the finger at other people or groups that are an easy target. What happens here is a long way from subsidiary. Jobs that are out sourced to the day laborer, even down to the very worker on the street corner, can still be considered a support to the U. S. Economy. * The History of Day Laborers A. In examining, the origins of these harsh, dirty, and dehumidifying Jobs, we are given a more in depth look at the realities of why day laborers are in existence today.
One example is the Government developed program, known widely as “The Bracers Program,” which ultimately became a law stating the following, “The most popular use of the term bracers (from the Spanish braze, which translates as “arm”) applies to the temporary agricultural and railroad workers brought into the United States as an emergency measure to meet the labor shortage of World War II. The Bracers Program, also referred to as the Mexican Farm Labor Supply Program and the Mexican Labor Agreement, was sanctioned by Congress through Public Law 45 of 1943. (substitute) This program set the platform for significant legal and illegal migration from Mexico to the United States, thus resulting in making immigrants one of the most targeted groups in government today. B. “In 2004, the UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty released a survey that revealed “on any given day (in the United States), approximately 117,600 workers are either looking for work as day laborers or are working as day laborers. Latino immigrants make up the majority of the day labor population. Ninety-eight percent are male.
Fifty-nine percent of the day laborers are born in Mexico; twenty percent are born in Central America; and seven percent are born in the United States. Seventy-five percent of the day labor workforce is made up of undocumented immigrants, and eleven percent of those illegal immigrants have an application pending for a change in their immigration status”(litigation). It also is possible that day laborers who are able to make the transition out of this labor market do so by holding multiple Jobs before leaving the day-labor market entirely.
For others, the more typical pattern may be to move in and out of standard employment arrangements in the mainstream economy and in and out of the day-labor market. More than half of day laborers (57 percent) have held a permanent Job in the United sector. For these workers, day labor may offer a source of income while they search for another permanent Job elsewhere in the local economy. II. Social Economic Factors * Family Support Indeed, being targeted has made it much harder to cope with the vast obstacles just to survive and support a family.
A. In exploring some reasons why immigrants are being targeted, we are forced to look at economic recession as one of the most prominent factors. However, these reasons are at times, Just a way for the government to play the “blame game”. In recent times, the United States has been quick to blame and point fingers at immigrants during times of economic fallout. In his research, UCLA Professor Narrow states that, according to findings in the National Day Labor Survey of 2004 ” the day laborer occupies an unusual position in the U. S. Economy.
It is disconnected from the mainstream economy given the rampant violations of employment and workplace safety laws that are found in this labor market. ” (Probationary) As an example, day laborers, who usually get paid in cash, end money to their home country. As a result of this, money earned here is being used in the country is being sent to, helping the circumstance of their economic status, boosting the levels of opportunities for those citizens. B. Furthermore, illegal immigrants who are paid in cash are frequently not paid or underpaid for their work.
As a result, their income ranges widely from $341 to $1,069 per month during the year. Moreover day laborers do not pay income taxes, hence, creating the issue of lost tax revenue for the state in which they are living. This will result in significant economic loss over time. In a recent Arizona newspaper article, “The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington D. C. Group, promoting immigration reform, estimated this month that illegal immigration costs federal and local tax payers $100 billion a year after the estimated $13 billion in taxes immigrants pay. (sharpen) Costs include, law and border enforcement, education, welfare assistance, and health care. “It also is possible that day laborers who are able to make the transition out of this labor market do so by holding multiple Jobs before leaving the day-labor market entirely. For others, the more typical pattern may be to eve in and out of standard employment arrangements in the mainstream economy and in and out of the day-labor market. More than half of day laborers (57 percent) have held a permanent Job in the United States, mainly in the construction industry, restaurants and the manufacturing sector.
For these workers, day labor may offer a source of income while they search for another permanent Job elsewhere in the local economy’. ( scent. UCLA. Due) * No Health Care Moreover, viewpoints on the issue health care in relation to immigrants are perceived as yet another major contributor to the economic downfall. When it comes to health care, illegal immigrants are pin pointed as taking advantage of our health care system, entering the United States illegally thus, having children who are U. S. Citizens.
With this status, children become eligible for a health insurance program provided by the state, which is called CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program). Most immigrant adults, either legal or illegal, lack health insurance due to fact that the occupations they work tend to not provide insurance by their employers. Labor workforce. Day laborers experience and are aware of the high risk of injuries in he workplace, but the critical need for employment is more important to them. “The economic pressures noted above make day laborers reluctant to leave a Job, even if it is objectively hazardous.
Injured workers feel that they must continue to work despite their injuries. One participant laying carpet was hurrying because he was paid by the yard and sliced his palm with a blade. Finding a nearby rag, he wrapped his hand as tightly as possible to stop the bleeding, hide the injury, and protect the carpet. He resumed working immediately because he believed he would be dismissed if his employer saw the wound. ” (NIH. Ova) Work-related injuries can be severe, to the point where an extended period of time out of work is necessary.
Barriers to accessing public health prevention services are due to their immigrant legal status, and subsequent fear of deportation by immigration officials. B. Despite being injured, many day laborers will continue to work because of their desire need for employment. For instance, laborers will continue to work in spite of conditions that include, working under hazardous conditions (including exposure to chemicals, mold, asbestos and toxic pollutants), not having the proper safety equipment, protective ear, and no safety training within the workplace, and the use of defective equipment (including tools, and construction equipment). Despite the hazards of the work, day laborers are rarely trained. They appear to be a flexible resource for employers, used on a short-term basis with little to no ongoing commitment. Language barriers also limit training. Day laborers are often physically unprepared. A 35-year-old piano teacher recalled operating a Jackhammer 10 hours a day during his first week in the United States. In retrospect, he laughed at his “softness and aching bones. ” Such lack f conditioning and training may predispose to work Very the employer accounts few of these injuries for due to the fear of reprimand.
Ill. Struggles and Challenges * Taking Jobs away While the economy is the biggest focus, there are many more reasons why day laborers are being targeted. People are blaming day laborers, illegal immigrants, for taking Jobs away from the natives. In 2007, the LA Times published an article about black Americans and Latino immigrants competing for Jobs on the streets in Atlanta. A. The LA Times article stated “In the deep south, like the rest of the nation, undocumented Latino have come to dominate many of the corners and parking lots where day laborers gather.
For example, very recently an anti-solicitation ordinance was passed in Costa Mesa, California, which prohibits people from standing on a sidewalk or other public areas and soliciting employment, business, contribution in a way that attracts the attention of moving vehicles. The violation will be subject to a fine of $1,000 and will have to spend up to six months in Jail. But this region is different because of the high percentage of Americans who still compete with Latino immigrants for such Jobs. “Although U. S. Born workers make up 7% of the day-labor pool nationwide, they account for nearly 20% in the South. ” (lattices) Black laborers have mixed feelings about Latino competitors due to frustration, anger, and the support for them where others feel sorry for the Latino. For example, an anonymous interviewer from the LA Times article stated, “They pick up the majority of the work, supported the crackdown on illegal immigration, he stated, “That’s a hard thing to say, you say that you’re on a racial-type mind set. All I’m looking for is equal opportunity. ” (lattices) B.
The Job distribution system is controversial issue. Most centers try to construct a system with the greatest potential for keeping the workers in the center and off the street. Workers do not know from one minute to another if they will be called next. The controversial facet is that the list and there is no possibility of getting work that day. First come, first serve systems that are used successfully by a number of day labor centers. It is straightforward and does not require a lot of coordination. Skilled workers, all centers treat requests for skilled workers differently than those for mineral labor.
If an employer requests a house painter, most centers clarify whether the employer prefers a general laborer (at a lower rate) or a skilled worker (usually at a higher rate of pay). Customer choice, In the case of centers that serve a racially diverse group of workers, employers may show a preference for one group over another, which can create resentments and stronger divisions among the workers. Some centers say they try to balance these considerations by encouraging employers to go by the lottery, while allowing choice if they insist. * Identifying High Risk A.
Moreover, another issue to be addressed is that immigrants are being taken advantage of in a variety of a ways; being paid poorly or not being paid at all, employer abuse (including being denied food/water and breaks), being assaulted, insulted, and unfairly harassed. This attitude and behavior are acts done by merchants, law enforcement, communities, and even state and government officials. A New York Times article states, “The report Joins a growing body of research into the lives of day laborers, widely regarded as among the most economically vulnerable workers.
Many are illegal immigrants, are frequently subjected to workplace abuses and rarely seek recourse from law enforcement officials or the courts, either because they are ignorant of their rights or they fear deportation”. (anytime) B. In fact, day laborers are being blamed for the drugs on the street, drinking, public urination, littering, increase in crime, blocking driveways or parking lot areas, traffic hazards, trespassing, lowering property value, unsightliness, intimidation of customer/ reduction in business and, sexual harassment. All these examples are based on perceptions, not always reality.
The reasons for day laborers being targeted seem intractable, more often, because of misconceptions and assumptions. To correct these misconceptions and assumption, education and understanding the realities and truth of day laborers in needed. As we have seen, there are many reasons why day laborers have been a target during this time of economic crisis, but in taking a closer look, we may also find that there are many benefits of a day laborer as well. People assume that day laborers are costing our country money, when in reality it is only a tiny fraction that we spend on illegal immigrants.
Day laborers are mostly paid in cash, saving the employer money from paying taxes on that day laborer. Once paid, they obviously have to live, meaning they have to eat; they need a place to stay. Therefore, they are putting their hard earned money back into our economy by paying taxes when shopping in stores, and eating at a variety of restaurants. If they Arizona Central mentions, “Most day laborers fall below the minimum, so even if they were trying to fairly report their wages, they probably wouldn’t have any tax due. ” (sharpen) IV. Response/Reactions of Community Resources * Day Laborer Day Centers
To help solve most of the issues mentioned above, the “Day Labor Hiring Centers” have been created and are found throughout the United States. A. These sites are organized and are a gathering site for day laborers. These sites can have organizers that are willing to help negotiate agreements between the laborers and the employer, which include property owners, home owners, local government, and law enforcement. The City of Los Angels has a safety program for day laborers, which allows them to safely congregate to seek casual labor work and be matched with employers seeking temporary workers.
The programs purpose is to reduce the number of day laborers who gather in various corners within the community, instead having them gather at fixed sites located in select areas of the City. The program also provides supervision of the site and community outreach. It does not interfere in the employment transaction between the day laborer and employer. There are no fees to either party to utilize the programs services. Some of the cities that offer this program include: Harbor City, North Hollywood, West Los Angels, Cypress Park, and Glendale.
One example of an established site in Glendale, California includes the allowing: Average of day laborers range from 70 weekdays and 90 Friday-Sunday, Ethnic and Gender composition is around 95% Latino including many Indigenous Guatemalan. Twenty six women on average participate per month, Budget the project operating cost are estimated to be $50,000 per year, Source of Funding, is through private foundation grants, municipal assistance and from donations, and Staffing usually two full-time staff. B.
It is also to help with support to the day laborer; helping them address concerns, network with the community, and educating people on the misconceptions and lies about day laborers. The bottom line the is that Day Laborer Hiring Centers offer resolutions to negativity and non-accepting views of day laborers, who are Just looking to earn some money by working hard in some of the most dangerous, and hostile environments. They are vulnerable and are ultimately forced to accept any Job. Day laborers should not be taken advantage of. They are Just as human as we are, therefore deserving of the same chances as the American people.
This is not an invitation to say come all at once. If too many people arrive too fast, they cannot be emerged into the economy easily and we will have problems. But with reasonable economic rates, along with a mix of skills, there will be no need to fear immigration bringing negative consequences. Instead, there are plenty good reasons to believe the effects will be positive and less stressful. The in- kind activities and services are based by availability, and can include English as a Second Language classes, legal counseling, HIVE awareness, medical examinations, alcohol, drugs and sexual diseases counseling and referrals.
Day laborers are encouraged to volunteer and participate in various community activities, including community clean up and city involvement. In conclusion, strategies to help day laborers are trying to do, and the benefits they bring to the United States. More than two decades ago, Mexican and Central American Immigrants, because of their economic and social linkages to US society, imagine themselves to be part of the community, but the larger society continued to see them as outsiders, and thus they continued to remain marginal members of the society.