Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Men Not Working

In Lake Worth, Florida, out-of-work laborers are hanging out in front of the Home Depot, waiting and hoping for work.

This seems at first glance to be admirable. These are able-bodied men with skills in brick laying, carpentry, landscaping, painting etc. doing whatever it takes to support their families. However, a further look brings pause.

The Home Depot blames the unemployed men for causing accidents and driving away customers. The competition is fierce, as the job seekers rush vehicles, shouting at the drivers. The local 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, and the women are startled or frightened when the men surround the truck and try to open the doors.

The job seekers 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 the trouble begins when they block the entrance or run into the parking lot, defying trespass laws. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that most of these men are here illegally. Why would we expect them to obey our laws?

One of the men, 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. Where was he employed and by whom?

The men say they should be allowed to find a way to earn money. No, they should not be allowed to look for illegal work, nor should they or anyone else be allowed to trespass and harass shoppers. These men should spend more time and energy going through the process to become documented and contribute to our society, instead of taking all that America has to give while giving nothing back.

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