Stone Pigs

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Illegal Immigrants Brazenly Flout Law in Lake Worth, FL

Posted By on March 14, 2009

On March 8th, the “Palm Beach Post” published a news story written by Andrew Marra with this title: “Home Depot at standoff with laborers who swarm customers in bid for work.”  In the story, Mr. Marra detailed the activities of some folks who tend to congregate in front of a Home Depot in the hopes of being hired as day laborers.  Apparently, while standing on the side of the road, they can be picked up by employers who come along in trucks with the promise of a day’s labor and pay.  At the same time, they are accused by Home Depot of bothering customers, loitering, and trespassing.  The laborers are allowed by law enforcement officials to continue gathering there, but only on the small strip of public land between the street and Home Depot’s property.  The laborers don’t always honor these limitations.

The story goes on to personalize the plight of these workers by detailing the life and circumstances of Gonzalo Garcia, an “undocumented Guatemalan national.”  He is described as mustachioed and graying, age 49 and father of four.  According to the article, until being laid off recently, Mr. Garcia held a regular construction job.  Now, Mr. Garcia just wants to work so he is forced to compete more for the dwindling number of jobs available.  “We’re not here because we want to be here,” he told the reporter in Spanish.  “We need to be.”

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office has offered repeated warning to the collections of laborers.  They have arrested some for trespassing.  They have even engaged in undercover sting operations to try to deal with their unruly behavior, about which Home Depot has complained.  Law enforcement is clearly highly aware of these folks.

Andrew Marra, the reporter, also quoted another Guatemalan laborer named simply “Moyno.”  Moyno refused to give his last name because he admits that he’s “in this country illegally” and he has a mother and father to support.

Here’s my favorite line in the whole article though:

Full-time work has become increasingly difficult to find, they say, and if they’re only looking for work they should be allowed to find a way to earn money.

It seems to me that the author, and by extension, the editors at the Palm Beach Post are completely ignorant of the true meaning of that sentence.  America is suffering from what many describe as the worst economic downturn in decades with unemployment figures rising quickly toward 10% while growing numbers of our citizens demand government action to reverse the situation.  In the mean time, what work there is to be found, is being given to people who are openly flouting our laws.  People who law enforcement can easily find.  People who are known by name to newspaper reporters.  People who are clearly unafraid of any consequences because they know there will be none.

The article’s final line, offers up the clearest indictment of the situation:

Garcia, who said he was among the laborers cited for trespassing in the last sting, did not hesitate to return to The Home Depot to search for day jobs soon afterward. He said he has no plans for change and is mindful of his court date in a few weeks. By then, he said, he hopes to have found more work.

It is time for the public to hold their elected officials, and each other, to higher standards.  We live in a country where we expect the rule of law to prevail.  We must be consistent in our approach; we cannot simply pick and choose which laws we enforce and which people will be held accountable.  Justice must be blind and it must be consistent.

Articles such as these indicate to me that plenty of work could be found out there for people who are willing to put in a hard day’s work.  Clearly our unemployment laws and compensation present a particularly comfortable alternative, and while they are well-intentioned and helpful in some respects, they actually encourage higher unemployment rates and more illegal immigration.  Obviously, there are jobs that Americans are unwilling to take, and we’re quite happy to exploit slave labor in those jobs. This is an indictment of those unemployed Americans who won’t take those jobs.  This is an indictment of the executive branches of our government who refuse to enforce the laws they are entrusted to uphold.  This is an indictment of the American citizens who sit back and take advantage of the fruits of the labors of this slave labor class.  And it is an indictment of the Americans who aren’t standing up and demanding more principled political leaders and government officials.

P.S. I did contact Andrew Marra about the obviousness of the lack of enforcement of our laws and his apparent disregard for that issue.  As you might guess, he has not responded.


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