AUGUST 13, 2008
A major U.S. city is on the verge of approving an ordinance requiring home-improvement stores to set aside space for day laborers—mostly illegal immigrants—seeking employment from customers to congregate.
Under the plan stores that are 100,000 square feet or larger must provide shelters that are easily accessible and equipped with drinking water, bathrooms, tables with seating and trash facilities. A crucial Los Angeles City Council Committee (Planning and Land Use Management) recently approved the measure unanimously and the actual council is set to vote on it this week.
The City of Angels’ new "Day Laborer Operating Standards" would also require the home-improvement stores to develop a security plan in consultation with local police. That’s because the illegal immigrants who typically loiter in parking lots and surrounding neighborhoods are a public nuisance, often harassing residents, blocking traffic, urinating in public and littering.
Los Angeles already operates eight day laborer sites throughout the city at annual cost of nearly $200,000, supposedly with “grant” dollars. Now the city’s government is demanding amenities that will improve and facilitate the lives of illegal immigrants who have broken the law.
One editorial—titled “Lounges for Laborers?”—opposing the measure because it will burden retailers points out that it’s not fundamentally fair for a municipal government to force businesses to bear the costs associated with day laborers. It should also be illegal.
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