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  1. #1
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    Laborers swarm customers at Home Depot

    Home Depot at standoff with laborers who swarm customers in bid for work
    By ANDREW MARRA

    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    Mustachioed and graying, dressed in the uniform of a full-time job he once had, Gonzalo Garcia is out in front of The Home Depot on Lake Worth Road most mornings, and it doesn't take much to catch his eye.

    A braking pickup or the wave of a driver's hand will send him and several other Hispanic day laborers rushing to the departing vehicle, their eyes bright with the possibility of a day's work.


    Garcia, at 49 a father of four, says he tends to hang back as the younger workers push forward. But his counterparts often run, hoping to be chosen to paint, rip out drywall or lay bricks.

    The onslaught, a symptom of the voracious competition for dwindling numbers of day jobs, can be surprising to the unsuspecting, and even frightening.

    In recent years, the Hispanic day laborers have become as much a part of the scenery at The Home Depot west of Lake Worth as the fence and hedges, and as more lose full-time jobs in construction or landscaping, their numbers seem to have grown.

    The Home Depot is not pleased. Blaming the job seekers for causing accidents and driving away customers, the world's largest home improvement retailer has been working to discourage them from rushing vehicles in the driveways and trespassing in the parking lot.

    But the need for work keeps pushing the men forward, and the result has been an entrenched standoff.

    Garcia, an undocumented Guatemalan national who had a regular job in construction until being laid off late last year, said he and the others only want to work and have no other way to find steady pay.

    "We're not here because we want to be here," he said in Spanish. "We need to be."

    After repeated warnings, meetings and occasional trespassing arrests, the sheriff's office has resorted in recent months to undercover stings to try to keep the laborers in place.

    The workers are allowed to stand on the sidewalk or along the shoulder in front of the store, which is considered public property. But sheriff's officials say they get into trouble when they block the entrance or wander past the hedges into the parking lot.

    "I think it's solely a financial situation for them," said Palm Beach County sheriff's Capt. Paul Miles. "If someone else is standing out front and getting in the truck, they're getting the money."

    This year the situation has worsened. In just January and February, deputies were called to the store 21 times for trespassing violations, compared with 27 such calls in all of 2008, sheriff's office statistics show.

    The day laborers are almost all Guatemalans and admit good-naturedly that they occasionally trespass onto The Home Depot's property. They say there is no other way for them to get the attention of potential hirers.

    "We're here for our families," said Moyno, 22, who came to Florida from Guatemala a year and a half ago and declined to give his last name because he is in the country illegally. "I have a father and mother to support."

    Full-time work has become increasingly difficult to find, they say, and if they're only looking for work they should be allowed to find a way to earn money.

    Others feel differently. Miles said the sheriff's office receives calls from customers who are frightened or annoyed after being surrounded by job seekers. General contractors and builders often send their wives in trucks to pick up supplies at the store, he said, and the women are sometimes startled when well-meaning workers surround the truck and try to open the doors.

    Local store managers declined to comment. A corporate spokesman said in a statement that "the existence of day laborers is a complex social issue beyond The Home Depot's control. Like many businesses in the community, we maintain a policy of non-solicitation at our stores."

    Miles said sheriff's officials have done a few undercover stings with a plainclothes deputy in a pickup. On the last one, on Feb. 14, Samuel Perez Santos, 37, a Guatemalan, jumped from the moving truck to escape waiting deputies.

    During a chase, a deputy shot him with a Taser and he fell to the ground, slamming his head and fracturing his face. He was arrested on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest without violence.

    Miles said the sheriff's office decided to stop the undercover stings after Perez Santos jumped out of the pickup, and will consider other ways to enforce trespassing laws.

    Garcia, who said he was among the laborers cited for trespassing in the last sting, did not hesitate to return to The Home Depot to search for day jobs soon afterward.

    He said he has no plans for change and is mindful of his court date in a few weeks. By then, he said, he hopes to have found more work.

    Find this article at:
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/ ... html?imw=Y
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  2. #2
    Senior Member avenger's Avatar
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    This would be an excellent place for ICE to station personal to catch those that are hiring illegal aliens as well as the illegals themselves.
    Never give up! Never surrender! Never compromise your values!*
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  3. #3
    Senior Member 93camaro's Avatar
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    Others feel differently. Miles said the sheriff's office receives calls from customers who are frightened or annoyed after being surrounded by job seekers. General contractors and builders often send their wives in trucks to pick up supplies at the store, he said, and the women are sometimes startled when well-meaning workers surround the truck and try to open the doors.
    Well-Meaning?!!! Are you kidding ME!?
    Work Harder Millions on Welfare Depend on You!

  4. #4
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93camaro
    Others feel differently. Miles said the sheriff's office receives calls from customers who are frightened or annoyed after being surrounded by job seekers. General contractors and builders often send their wives in trucks to pick up supplies at the store, he said, and the women are sometimes startled when well-meaning workers surround the truck and try to open the doors.
    Well-Meaning?!!! Are you kidding ME!?
    Women startled when a mob of day laborers, most of which are illegal aliens, surround their vehicle? What a bunch of racist women right? This comment in this article is ludicrous.

    W
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    I would be on the cell calling police if a mob surrounded me and tried to open the doors of my vehicle. I am not a mind-reader, do not speak Spanish, so how in the world would I know what their intentions were? And if these workers don't speak English, how can some homeowner make clear what they work they want done and how it should be done?
    This is pure and simple harrassment, and I am sure some lawyer could figure out a few more charges like violation of personal property (the vehicle), mental stress to the person inside, attempted assault, etc.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member PatrioticMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALIPAC
    Quote Originally Posted by 93camaro
    Others feel differently. Miles said the sheriff's office receives calls from customers who are frightened or annoyed after being surrounded by job seekers. General contractors and builders often send their wives in trucks to pick up supplies at the store, he said, and the women are sometimes startled when well-meaning workers surround the truck and try to open the doors.
    Well-Meaning?!!! Are you kidding ME!?
    Women startled when a mob of day laborers, most of which are illegal aliens, surround their vehicle? What a bunch of racist women right? This comment in this article is ludicrous.

    W
    Trying to open the doors? What American man would get away with doing that to some woman he doesn't know? I would be very afraid...and I don't scare easily.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    The whole article is rediculous...if this is hiding in the shadows I will eat my hat....they have been arrested and released, they go to their court date and aren't afraid...what crap.

    Well their are alot of American citizens who just want to work and support their families you fools and this IS their country.


    Why are these known illegals not being arrested and deported?????
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  8. #8
    Senior Member hattiecat's Avatar
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    This just confirms my suspicions that despite the bad economy most of them aren't leaving.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member miguelina's Avatar
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    When Home Depot starts losing money, they'll do something. You'd think they would have hired security guards to patrol their parking lots already, no? Home Depot ALLOWED them to congregate there by doing nothing, let them reap what they've sown.

    They seem to care more about illegal aliens than they do about Americans/legal immigrants who shop there. Fine, let them coddle the illegals and I'll shop elsewhere. My local ACE hardware store is doing well with all the former HD & Lowe's customers coming in and NO harassment from "day laborers".
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  10. #10
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    Wasn't it a few months ago that LA commissioners decided to force Home Depot and Lowe's to build day-labor centers for these nutcases on their property?
    I e-mail them often to protest as I shop there often, but at the one I go to, I have not yet been accosted. I use their contractors, as long as the salesman understands that anyone not speaking English will be thrown off the property along with the contractor.
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