Sunday, June 05, 2005

Day Laborers Often Have Biz on the Side

When a friend in Los Angeles moved to a new apartment, he hired a couple of day laborers on a Saturday to help. He said he "felt sorry for these poor people," and a day's work "would help them out." And a moving company was expensive.

By nightfall, there was just one load left, so John paid his helpers, and returned to his old apartment for the night. Sunday morning, he took the last of it to his new apartment. It was empty.

He reported the burglary to the police. A week later, John spied one of his "helpers" walking down the street, wearing his $15,000 one-of-a-kind designer coat.

The day laborers were running a burglary ring: every "day job" was a scouting party for potential victims. Helping people move was particularly lucrative.

I did some work for a software company to help launch a new product, to be unveiled at a press conference/reception on a Monday. In the rush to launch, the company hired a dozen workers from a temporary help agency to pack and shrink-wrap the product for shipment. By 7 p.m. Sunday, the product was ready to roll. The owners locked up for the night; when they unlocked at 8 a.m., the warehouse was empty. Several million dollars' worth of new product had been stolen overnight.

Turns out half a dozen of the men from the temp agency were illegal aliens using stolen IDs to sign on with the temp agency. Their "real job" was burglary, et al.; temp work enabled them to scout likely targets.

The Monterey Herald (California) reported on June 3 the arrests of alleged members of a burglary ring operating in Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. Authorities recovered over $250,000 worth of stolen property. The alleged ringleader, Alejandro Rodriguez Solis, used a landscaping and cement buiness and day laborers to scout targets, then hit homeowners and construction sites over the weekend.

Anyone who would consider hiring day laborers needs to think twice about what their "real job" might be. These are people who usually lack ID or use fake or stolen ID, thus are untraceable. At many day labor centers and sites where they congregate, barely ten percent of those who solicit odd jobs get work on any given day, so they cannot be earning a living. They are unemployed and unemployable (not legally, at least). They have already demonstrated that they are scofflaws by violating immigration laws and by hiring and conspiring with organized crime rings to evade immigration laws and obtain bogus identification. This is hardly the behavior of an "honest, hardworking" person.

Cheap labor might cost you far more than you ever imagined.

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