Friday, February 22, 2008

Day Laborer = Illegal Immigrant?

Stamford residents, diverse as we are, have at least one thing in common: we’ve all seen the day laborers standing near exit 9 waiting for work.

I’ve talked to quite a few area residents who have expressed shock at the sight. “Can you believe that?" Uh, yeah, I can. People want cheap labor to build their houses and clean their lawns. The day laborers want to make money. I’m not surprised people are standing by a dirty, smelly highway hoping to be whisked away by a man in an SUV.

Other residents are outraged that illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans. I’m not so sure that the men off exit 9 are taking jobs from good, wholesome citizens, and I’m not even sure they are illegal immigrants. Maybe they’re all legal. Why not?

I don't know, and that’s why over the next week I’ll be doing several posts on issues relating to immigrants in Stamford. I want to learn more.

I don’t have any decisive opinions about the topic yet, but I'm leaning toward the "show some kindness" side. There are some people in this area who do seem fanatical about "illegals," but I need to learn more before I rant- I mean, write- about them.

In the meantime, I'll post this weekend about my indignant reaction to a police survey that mentioned day laborers.

Let me know what you think about the presence of day laborers, and tell me of any interesting experiences you’ve had with (maybe illegal!) immigrants in Stamford.

4 comments:

zobot said...

Well, I think when dealing with anyone, including day laborers, it makes sense to take a kind approach. Previous studies have indicated that more than 75% of day laborers are illegal aliens. That doesn't necessarily make them "bad people", of course, just law breakers...

I had dinner tonight at a pizza joint on the East Side (I didn't feel like driving far) and had an experience which is fairly unique to urban areas like Stamford...
There were probably 10 different tables in the restaurant and there were at least 6 different ethnicities/nationalities represented among those tables. It was a very diverse group, but still had many things in common. I think it's experiences like this that make Stamford such an interesting place...

Stamford Talk said...

Hmm, true about law breakers. Zobot, incisive, balanced comments as usual.

I assume the pizza joint wasn't Colony, or you would have shouted it from the rooftops!
My trivia team was surprisingly diverse too- 3 races and at least 4 different countries. Go Tigin, attracting the international crowd! Very few Latinos, though, if I recall correctly.

zobot said...

No, it was Sergio's, on East Main near Dunkin Donuts. Sergio's does a good business and it's easy to see why. The food is good and ridiculously cheap: $6 for a small pizza, $4 for a sandwich and fries, $2.75 for a glass of wine. We're not talking gourmet here, but when I can dine out with my wife for less than $20, that's a victory!

-Mr. Z

Dee said...

I'm surprised there aren't more posts. I agree that any of us working with day laborers should be kind, but I think we should be kind regardless of the work they do or they slot in life. It just feels better.

I do, nevertheless, feel very strongly about hiring illegals and will not do it and I think we need to stop the immigration of illegals from ALL countries and deport recent illegals.

I guess it has to do with a sense that as a country many openly insult, we remain the go-to place for people from nearly every country in the world. I am proud of my country, though we do have a lot of work to do to get past our selfish/greedy/self-indulgent leanings, and I want to protect what we have.

I want immigration but not illegal immigration. Like many of you, I love being able to hear half a dozen languages and dialects when I shop at the Shippan Shoprite or grab food at Fiesta or walk on the beach. But, I think it is outrageous that I have to pay via Malloy and taxes for illegals. We don't owe them healthcare, workfare, education. I don't want to pay for it.

I guess too that I wish that they would stay home, have the courage to ban together and fight for Democracy back home, instead of taking the easy way out...well, it's easier than standing up to ruthless Dictators.

I am going to do major rennovations on my home and you had better believe that any worker w/o a SS# will not be aloud to work and I have to then choose a contractor who will guarantee it...and I have.