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City Promotes Illegal Activity

To:  John [email protected]
From: " tim richardson "
Date:  Fri, 7 Feb 2003 14:43:28 -0700

What follows is a column that appeared in the Arizona Republic and my letter to the editor concerning it. This column was a follow on to the article that appeared in the Feb 2 issue announcing the opening of the facility and showing a picture of one of the illegals wearing the United States flag as a cap.

I have followed through with contacting the American Legion and VFW. I also sent copies of the letter to the Mayor of Phoenix and the Council Woman who sponsored this travesty.


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City solved problem; it didn't legitimize illegal labor
Feb. 5, 2003
Richard Ruelas

The problem is solved. Men aren't standing around in clumps at 25th Street and Bell Road. Trucks aren't slowing at the intersection, blocking traffic. The sidewalks are no longer littered with cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers.

The problem is solved because the city of Phoenix has opened up a day labor center.

"It was the right thing to do for the neighborhood and for the business owners," District 2 Councilwoman Peggy Neely says, "and the right thing to do for the workers. They deserve some dignity, too."

Neely remembers driving through the neighborhood in 1992. She stopped to turn her pickup around and men jumped into the back, thinking she wanted workers.

Instead of turning that shock into anger and fear, Neely looked for a solution.

Saturday, that solution, the Machualli Work Center, opened to a crowd of workers.

"It just cemented to me how many people within that one-mile radius had been soliciting work," she says.

It's not fancy - just some canopies, some benches and an asphalt driveway - but it has put some organization into what once was a chaotic situation.

"Before, you had to be fast. It was who got there the fastest," says Arturo Chavez, 34, who had just been dropped off from his first job of the day. "Now it's if you're lucky."

Lucky because each worker is handed a numbered carnival ticket. A lottery determines who's next for a job.

"Esteban," called a volunteer with Tonatierra, a non-profit agency that helps operate the center.

Esteban Varga, 48, walked up to a silver car. The driver wanted men to paint his house. He offered $5 an hour. Varga declined.

The volunteer shouted to the other men in Spanish, asking if any of them would work for $5. No one budged. The man drove off.

A few days before the center opened, the workers established a base wage. They agreed no one would work for less than $8 an hour.

"It's better to wait until the $8 comes," Varga says. "That's what we decided. That's a rule we have."

So Varga waited, even though work was scarce. On Monday, only sixty jobs were available for the 250 waiting workers. Still, Varga says, the chances of finding work are better in the center than out in the chaos of the street.

The pilot project has already proved itself a success to the workers and to the neighborhood. It has until June to prove itself a success to the City Council.

It also has to overcome the feelings of some residents who feel like the city is legitimizing the mostly illegal immigrant laborers.

They don't see that all the city did was solve a problem.

The ones who make the workers legitimate are those pulling into the newly constructed driveway to take advantage of the cheap labor.

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The Editor
Arizona Republic

Regarding your column of Mr. Ruelas lauding the illegal alien job center.

The headline of your column is inaccurate in that the City of Phoenix does in fact promote an illegal activity.

If the people using this City facility were to go to the U.S. Employment Service they would be asked the question: "Do you have the legal right to work in this country?"

If the answer is no then they would not be allowed to use the services. If they answered yes and were later found out to be lying they could be prosecuted for falsifying a federal document.

If the City of Phoenix followed that Federal requirement, which they agree to do by accepting job postings from the U.S. Employment Service, there would only be legal job seekers for anyone to approach.

The setting of a minimum wage, half again the Federal Minimum Wage, by the people running the facility certainly removes the authenticity of claim of desperateness from these peoples' plight.

There are people who truly are desperate and will paint a house for $5.00 per hour and they will start congregating one or two blocks away from this panacea for illegal aliens.

The Arizona Republic's prominent display of Carlos Sanchez, desecrating the American Flag clearly shows the contempt of the illegal aliens and the staff of the Arizona Republic for the United States in general and the plight of Arizona residents in the border counties in particular. I shall be asking the National, and local, offices of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars to contact the publisher regarding such a display.

May you truly reap all that the illegals are bringing to your city.

Tim Richardson

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      February 9, 2003
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