JULY 14, 2006
Although they are in the U.S. illegally, day laborers in an upscale Southern California city are demanding an hourly wage that is nearly three times that of the federal minimum wage.
Illegal immigrants who gather in a dusty corner of Agoura Hills, a small city in north Los Angeles County, refuse to work for less than $15 an hour and regularly reject jobs that offer anywhere from $10 to $12 an hour because they say that they are highly skilled and deserve more money. Keep in mind that they don’t pay taxes on this money the way like law-abiding Americans must.
Day laborers at a few sites throughout the country have organized to set a so-called minimum wage with the help of groups like the San Francisco-based La Raza Centro Legal which strives to ensure that day laborers have access to living wage employment, regardless of legal status in the U.S. For the most part, however, the rate is around $8 an hour, making the Agoura Hills migrants quite bold.
The city actually became one of the first in the country to prohibit illegal immigrants from soliciting work in 1991, after many residents complained that day laborers slept on the mountain slope and destroyed the area with litter. When police began arresting violators and fining them $275, a group of day laborer advocates sued Los Angeles County and in 2000 a judge ruled that the ban violated their First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
Now these illegal immigrants demand more money that many American citizens earn per hour. One Wisconsin news blog is curious to know what people, who once sided with illegal immigration because of the cheap labor it brought, now think.
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