Hispanic panic

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by patron, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. patron

    patron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    'Hispanic panic' as Arizona immigration crackdown bites

    1 day ago

    PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) — One month after Arizona introduced a law cracking down on businesses which employ illegal immigrants, Latino workers are fleeing the state and companies are laying off employees in droves, officials and activists say.

    Arizona has become one of the frontlines of the US immigration debate and broke new ground on January 1 with a law that threatens to put of business companies which knowingly hire undocumented workers.

    The effects of the law have been immediate, according to businessmen, workers and rights activists who spoke to AFP, with companies driving up wages to attract labor while being forced to part company with prized employees.

    Even though a federal judge ruled last week that there will be no prosecutions under the law until March, it has done little to prevent a phenomenon being dubbed "Hispanic Panic."

    "There's a lot of fear and some people are leaving," said Salvador Reza, an immigrant-rights activist who runs a day labor center in Phoenix.

    "The fear is not only at the worker level, it's at the employer level. I've never seen that before in my life."

    Workers are going back to Mexico or to other states, Reza said. He predicted small businesses forced to lay off skilled employees like welders will now pay them in cash, creating a black economy.

    "The underground economy is going to take hold now, and there will be less money for the state," Reza said.

    Ten men were laid off at Ironco, a steel fabrication company in Phoenix which builds large-scale construction projects.

    "We had to let them go," president Sheridan Bailey said. "Unfortunately some of these people were our best workers. This is terribly tragic."

    Two out of three men who apply at Ironco, a construction firm that specialises in buildings and parking garages made with heavy steel, are Hispanic or foreign-born Hispanic, the company said.

    Ironco has raised steel fitters' wages 30 percent from a year ago, according to Bailey. "We've raised wages, competing for a diminishing supply (of workers)," he said. "We?ve been on a campaign of quality improvement, training, scouring the waterfront, so to speak, for American vets, ex-offenders trying to find their way back into society."

    A crew leader who worked for Rick Robinson?s Phoenix landscaping company left the state because his wife is an illegal worker. The worker was scared his wife would be deported.

    "I've talked to other companies who have said they can?t find anybody," Robinson said. "I've heard they're going to Utah or Texas or New Mexico because they don?t have a law like this. We and other landscape companies are uncertain as to how far-reaching it will be. People don't know what they can and can't do. The whole thing is confusing, gross, and unfair."

    David Jones, head of the Arizona Contractors Association, said he knows of three construction companies which have laid off 30, 40, and 70 employees respectively since the beginning of the year.

    "They can't stand the risk of losing their license," Jones said. Many workers are heading to neigboring Nevada to find jobs.

    "We've created a climate which will make Arizona?s construction industry subordinate to Nevada," Jones said.

    "We're all frustrated (with illegal immigration), but I don?t think this is the right approach. If we don?t have a functional guest worker program in this country, we?re going to be in trouble."

    Businesses feel exposed to discrimination lawsuits and anonymous malicious complaints from competitors, said Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce vice president Todd Sanders.

    "What we?re hearing from folks is a level of uncertainty because there are some loose ends in the law," Sanders said.

    The ripple in Arizona?s economy has spread to other sectors. Real estate agent John Aguero Sr. said he gets four to seven calls each day from people asking about what they can do with their homes.

    Fifteen out of 100 people who call Aguero "are just walking away from their property," he said.

    One man called and asked how long the foreclosure process would take if he skipped his 1,600 house payments. Aguero told him four months.

    "Well, I?ll save that and just go home (to Guatemala)," Aguero said. "His wife is a citizen but he's not. The whole family will pack up and leave. He has three children, all of whom were born here."

    Royal Palms Middle School serves a largely Hispanic and immigrant area of the city. Three or four students have formally left the school since the beginning of the year. Twice that number haven't shown up to school in ten days. Attendance is down five percent.

    "We've tied what we're hearing to attendance," said principal Lenny Hoover.

    An announcement was made to students that police cannot come into the school and seize them. "What I have noticed is a great deal of student mental diffidence about it," Hoover said. "They?re worried about it, and kids don?t worry about a lot."
  2. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    Well I guess big business is going to have to pay American workers living wages from now on. BOO HOO. They got rich with cheap illegal labor and have just about killed the middle class. Every one can't be a cubical dweller or office jerk. There are plenty of American workers who will do the work if they can earn a living wage. Why do you suppose there are so many guys cutting lawns? Because if you learn to do it well and run it right you can earn a good living and we all know its hard work.
  3. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    Yeah they should have passed the law a long time ago and the rest of the states should pass the law as well. I'm sick and tired of reading in our own paper about the number of illegals arrested then let go. What the f--k!!! Every state should pass laws, harsh laws on businesses who employee illegals and landlords who rent to illegals and they should be denied food stamps and medical benefits. I would also like to see something done about the kids of illegals. The second their born here they become a natural born citizen of the United State with all the rights that brings even if there parents just crossed the border a few minutes before. Illegals are not citizens of our country and deserve NO benefits from this country. We are not Mexico's welfare system!!!!
  4. capelawncare.com

    capelawncare.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    Kudos to the Gov of Az
  5. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    The credit goes to a local politician and all around good citizen that drafted the bill and to the voters of the state that overwhelmingly approved the proposition in an election. The Governor had nothing to do with the law. Joe Arpaio is also doing a good job of putting the fear of the law into the illegals. The local citizens that are taking their time to protest and take photo's at the day labor pick up sites. It is a battlefield here and I drive past the battles almost every day.

    My son is in a public school 4th grade, 9yrs old. Just last week had a Hispanic boy dropped into the classroom, can't speak the first word of English. What are his parents thinking and what is the teacher supposed to do with him? The kids are great about it though, my son wants to get the Rosetta stone software to learn Spanish real fast to help him out. I just want to beat the parents for putting him and everyone else in such a position.
  6. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 2,593

    Screw 'em. They can go cut grass in their own country.
  7. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,812

    That is a very complicated issue. we want them out if you think you pay to much for a gallon of milk know. wait until they are all gone. it will double it's price then the critics have to go milk the cow. you never thought of it that way I know:drinkup:
  8. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    Yeah Right. I highly doubt that will happen. We were a lot better off before they ever got here and now your saying we can't survive without them? Maybe you should go live in Mexico. Illegals are costing our health care and education system billions of dollars every year and even more in job loss. There low priced labor just means the corporate fat cats can buy another mercedes or vacation house so if we get rid of them they will have to forgo the new house and pay a decent wage to Americans. OH and by the way milk is going up do the the cost of feed for cattle due to increasing use of bio fuels and the high cost of oil.
  9. patron

    patron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    Hope it works out the way voter expected.
    I began looking at this issue because of the failure of the h2b cap exemption passing for 2008.

    My question is how will keeping my workers from returning to Ohio this year ( all 100 % legal) correct the problems you face in AZ ? I only ask because I don't understand what one has to do with the other. I know my beef is with congress but would like to hear what someone on the front lines thinks about it.

  10. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    This is a tough issue facing our country. Many of the responses show a lack of thought, understanding and compassion. I don't say that to put down the posters, I used to think the same way. Then I actually got to know several illegal aliens, a whole family moved into our old neighborhood. I put myself in their shoes, and realized that if providence had placed me in their shoes, I would have done the same thing.

    Be honest, you live in a country with a corrupt government, little to no economic opportunity, you and your kids are lucky to eat everyday and live in what we Americans would call a shack, your kids have no education, no opportunities.

    Yet just to the North, there is another country in which you can build a future, your kids can learn to read and write, you can work, and make 10X as much money. There is only one problem, to enter this country legally requires more money and education than you could hope to earn and achieve. But, there are millions of people there just like you, who have entered illegally, and the government there does nothing about it. They are issued driver licenses and their kids go to school.
    What would you do?
    If you answer anything other than go there, I don't believe you, because I would be over the fence and across the Rio Grande faster than an Olympic athlete.

    America needs to secure it's borders. But there needs to be a viable and equitable course set for those who have been allowed and encouraged to come here. A guest worker program of sorts, which actually works.

    I would love to use immigrant labor, but it is near impossible to find legal immigrants.

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