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  1. #1
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Jobs scarce for immigrant laborers

    Jobs scarce for immigrant laborers
    Waits grow longer, are often futile at muster zones
    By Michelle Sahn • STAFF WRITER • October 5, 2008

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    Around 5 every morning, Jorge Narbaez-Lopez, 25, and Manuel Lopez-Lopez, 22, make their way from their homes in Freehold to the muster zone on Throckmorton Street to wait for work.

    They post their names on the list used to keep track of each day laborer's arrival time — the first one there gets the first shot at a job.

    But after sign-in, the waiting begins. The men stand near the side of the road or sit in chairs, with their hands stuffed in their pockets and shoulders hunched, bracing themselves against the early morning chill.

    Job prospects are bad these days, they said. They go to the muster zone seven days a week, but often work only one or two. They wait for work until 10 a.m. each day, hoping for any sort employment — construction, landscaping, painting.

    Narbaez-Lopez said it's more difficult to find work now than it was three years ago, when he arrived from Oaxaca, Mexico, in search of employment. Economic problems are affecting the availability of jobs here, he said.

    Like countless other immigrants living in the United States, their incomes have decreased, and a recent study also showed that Mexicans living here are sending less money to their homeland, a drop that at least in part is attributed to U.S. economic woes.

    The median annual income of all U.S. households increased by 1.3 percent between 2006 and 2007, but fell by 7.3 percent in noncitizen immigrant households, according to a report issued last week by the Pew Hispanic Center.

    Mexicans living in the U.S. also sent home 12 percent less money in August, the largest drop on record since the Bank of Mexico began tracking remittances a dozen years ago, according to The Associated Press.

    The bank predicted remittances would likely continue to fall in coming months because of the "difficult problems the U.S. economy faces," according to the AP.

    The two Freehold men said they are sending less money home to their parents and siblings in Mexico because they must use their earnings to pay their rent here.

    Lakewood resident Edgar Chacha's situation is similar. The 27-year-old came here from Ecuador in 2004 to look for work. Because of economic problems in his homeland, he wanted to provide financial help to his parents and siblings, he said.

    Chacha said he has a job with a construction company, but some weeks, there is only enough work for two or three days, so a good deal of his earnings are used to pay for groceries and rent.

    A slump in the construction industry was the main reason the unemployment rate for Hispanics in the United States rose to 6.5 percent during the first quarter of 2008, while the unemployment rate for non-Hispanics during that time was 4.7 percent, according to a report issued earlier this year by the Pew Hispanic Center.

    For several years, that industry was the mainstay of job growth for Hispanic workers, especially immigrants, but over the past year, Hispanics lost nearly 250,000 jobs because of the construction slump, the report said.

    On nearly every corner in the state where day laborers gather, construction workers are among those looking for work, said Lou Kimmel, the director of field mobilization for New Labor, a organization that has offices in Lakewood and New Brunswick and whose goal is to improve working conditions and provide a voice for low-wage, young immigrant workers in the state.

    In some places, landscapers also account for a number of job-seekers. But both of those industries have seen cuts as expendable incomes in the U.S. shrink.

    "Obviously the country is in economic crisis, but even before that, there was a downturn in construction — new construction and renovations and demolitions — as people start to tighten up, there's less money to expand," Kimmel said.

    Locally, anecdotal evidence also indicates that some day laborers are pretty certain they will return to their homelands later this year because there is no work here, he said.

    An estimated 11.9 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States in March, but the growth of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. is slowing, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released last week.

    Pew Hispanic Center estimates showed an average of 800,000 illegal immigrants entered the U.S. each year from 2000 to 2004. But that number averaged 500,000 from 2005 to 2008, with a substantially smaller number of arrivals since 2007.

    Although the study was not designed to explain why the growth rate has slowed, possible causes could be a heightened focus on immigration law enforcement and the slowdown in U.S. economic growth, which has had a disproportionate impact on foreign-born Latino workers, the report said.

    On Wednesday morning, a cook, a roofer, a painter and a pizza-maker were among those standing in a Main Street parking lot in Manasquan, looking for jobs.

    Sometimes they obtain work one or two days week; sometimes none. At most, they work three or four days, said Marlon Sandres, 25, of Asbury Park. The Nicaraguan native moved here from Texas about a month ago to look for a job because there were none in the South, but there's not much work here either, he said.

    But the men travel to Mana-squan by train or bus from Asbury Park every day — Monday to Sunday — said Francisco Vaidivia Espinoza, 40, who has been in the United States for six months.

    "We want money to send to our families," said Sandres, whose wife and children live in Nicaragua.

    Nahum Garcia Gomez, 18, who hails from Mexico City, has been in the United States for five years. This is the most difficult time he and his friends have had in their search for work.

    "It's too hard because everyone needs work, but they can't find it," said Garcia Gomez, whose specialty is roofing.

    Conrrado Hernandez Espinoza, 35, of Mexico City said he worked at a Shore-area pizzeria for 14 years, but it closed recently. Last week he searched the classified ads of a newspaper, looking for a job.

    "And I call and I call, and nothing," he said.

    He said he owns a car, but gasoline is too expensive, so he travels to Manasquan by train or bus.

    "I'm looking for restaurant work, construction, whatever," he said. "I come here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, three days — nothing." ... /1001/NEWS
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  2. #2
    loneprotester's Avatar
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    Jan 1970
    I do not give a damn about Gorge and Manuel, they are criminals, please tell me about American citizens because that is what matters.

  3. #3
    Senior Member miguelina's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Don't care, GO HOME!
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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