Archive for the “Jobs” Category

Orange tightens day laborer rules
City officials adopt stringent measures to curb workers’ solicitation.
OC Register
December 11, 2007

ORANGE - New regulations aimed at curbing problems associated with day laborer solicitations will go into effect in one month.

On Tuesday, City Council members approved the ordinances, which will prohibit solicitation on sidewalks next to streets without parking lanes; on private property without the owner’s written permission; and while a solicitor is stopped or standing in a traffic lane, median or driveway apron on a public right of way.

In addition, private property owners who want to run job centers for laborers must get a conditional-use permit through the Planning Commission. The fine for violators will be up to $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 and jail time for the third.

?I?m glad they passed it, but I wish they were more strict about it,? said Edgar Luebben-Rivera, an Orange contractor who testified that day laborers have affected his ability to find work. ?It?s a small slap on somebody?s hand.?

A city report mentioned traffic problems, swarming of cars, intimidation of shoppers and public nuisances as problems that occur when day laborers congregate.

The new ordinances piggyback city officials? decision in October to reinstate a requirement that day laborers at the Resource Center provide two types of identification and fill out federal compliance forms to find work.

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Associated Press

PHOENIX - A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking to block a new Arizona law that prohibits people from hiring illegal immigrants and requires businesses to verify whether applicants are eligible for employment.

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

In his ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake wrote that the lawsuit was premature because there was no evidence that anybody had been harmed, and that the plaintiffs ? a coalition of business and immigrant rights groups ? were suing the wrong people.

The ruling said the law gives only investigatory authority to the governor and state attorney general, who were named as defendants. Wake said county prosecutors, who weren’t defendants, actually have the power to enforce the law.

The plaintiffs had asked for a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect.

Julie Pace, an attorney for the business groups, said her clients were meeting Saturday to determine whether to appeal the ruling or file a separate lawsuit against the county prosecutors. She said the business groups could pursue both avenues.

Alfredo Gutierrez, a spokesman for immigrant rights groups, said they plan to refile the lawsuit after Jan. 1, when they might be able to show damages caused by the law.

A spokesman for Gov. Janet Napolitano said the governor’s office had not yet read the ruling and had no immediate comment.

Napolitano signed the bill in July, saying that while immigration is a federal responsibility, Congress was apparently “incapable of coping with the comprehensive immigration reforms our country needs.”

The law is intended to curb Arizona’s role as the busiest illegal gateway into the country. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that illegal immigrants account for one in 10 workers in the Arizona economy.

Under the law, any business that is found to have knowingly hired an illegal worker is subject to sanctions ranging from probation to a 10-day suspension of its business licenses. A second violation would bring permanent revocation of the license.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit had argued the law was an unconstitutional attempt by the state to regulate immigration, which is the responsibility of the federal government. The judge’s ruling did not address that argument.

“He didn’t uphold the law,” Pace said. “He didn’t decide if it was constitutional. We can have that argument another day.”

Attorneys for the state say the groups weren’t reading the law correctly and that it does not conflict with federal law.

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AJC.com

Washington — With little time left in the Congressional calendar, high tech companies are scrambling to get an increase in H-1B visas this year, but the prospects are fading.

‘Time is short and it is a bit of a long shot, but the urgency of our situation necessitates us continuing to walk the halls of Congress, ‘ said Robert Hoffman, a vice president for government and public affairs at Oracle and co-chair of Compete America, a coalition of high-tech companies that includes Microsoft Corp. and Google, Inc. ‘As long as they continue to talk to us, we have reason to be hopeful.’

Hoffman said he is in discussions with House leaders and other key lawmakers, hoping to attach an H-1B amendment to a larger measure. But the task is difficult because Congress is facing a heavy agenda in the final weeks of the year, including 11 ‘must-pass’ spending bills to fund various government agencies.

Read more.

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Washington Post

Under a program to create jobs in rural America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture guaranteed $1.6 million in loans to Aztec Environmental Inc., an asbestos-removal company in Panama City, Fla.

Aztec did create jobs — for hundreds of workers from Guatemala. “Locals didn’t want the work,” said Debbie Livingston, one of the owners.

“You know, some people could argue a job at minimum wage is better than no job at all,” said William Hagy, the USDA’s deputy administrator for business programs. (By Ricky Carioti —

Three years later, in February, Aztec went out of business after a federal investigation into allegations of environmental abuses and the hiring of illegal immigrants. Now, the USDA could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on the loan.

The Aztec case is one graphic example of the scores of troubled loans that the USDA has backed in a little-known part of the agency’s vast system of farm subsidies. Since the 1970s, the loan program has endured nearly $1.5 billion in losses while backing almost $14 billion in guarantees to private banks, a Washington Post investigation found.

Actual losses are almost surely higher, according to a Post analysis of thousands of USDA loans and grants. USDA officials refuse to disclose losses on loans to individual companies, even after they go out of business, arguing that it “could substantially harm” the companies’ competitive positions.

More than three decades after the loan program was created, USDA officials still don’t know whether it works. Funds have gone to firms that have hired foreign workers instead of Americans. Millions more have gone to failing and bankrupt businesses. Most of the jobs are not new. Many are low-tech and low-wage.

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Doing the job Americans won’t do.

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December 2, 2007 - Lupe Moreno and the Campo Minutemen organized a rally to protest the Santa Ana, CA Mexican Consulate, that set up a mobile matricula consular ID center, in front of the Orange, CA Teamsters Union Local 952 in order to provide identification to illegal aliens.

At 1:00 pm - Campo Minutemen observed: a continual stream of individuals meeting with the Mexican Consulate mobile staff members - outside of the Teamsters Union Local 952 - and applying for the matricula consular identification. The place was mobbed.

When the Minuteman rally began - to chants such as “MEXICAN CONSULATE GO HOME” the mobile center moved from outside of the building to the inside.

Once the very vocal, but peaceful, rally in front of the Teamsters Local 952 began, only a few applicants ventured forward to apply for the matricula consular ID. The police were called, and assured the protesters they had the right to peaceably assemble, with a car staying to watch over the group. The Minutemen virtually shut down the Mexican Consulate mobile operation.

PLEASE CALL…please call the Teamsters and express your stance on a union “opening its doors” to issue identification to illegal aliens.

If you know members of the Teamsters please ask them to call.

TEAMSTERS ORANGE, CA
(714) 939-1519

TEAMSTERS WASHINGTON, DC
(202) 624-6800

WRITE A LETTER OR POSTCARD:
Michael B. Davis, President
Teamsters Union Local 952
1936 W. Chapman Avenue
Orange, California 92868

James P. Hoffa, General President
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Office of the General President
25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
www.teamster.org

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Illegal-immigration protesters and counterprotesters gather Saturday at 35th STreet and Thomas Road near Pruitt’s furniture store in Phoenix. Sheriff’s deputies arrested eight people nearby suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

Phoenix officials feel heat over migration as protests continue
Think tank weighs suit
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 3, 2007

As protests and arrests of undocumented workers continued near a Phoenix furniture store over the weekend, a Washington-based think tank is researching whether to sue Phoenix over its immigration policies.

Judicial Watch, a 13-year-old conservative think tank best known for its lawsuits against the Clinton administration, sent its chief investigator to Phoenix on Friday to review public documents related to immigration.

The group’s visit comes at a time when Mayor Phil Gordon, Police Chief Jack Harris and other city officials are under pressure to take stronger actions on illegal immigration-related controversies. Gordon reportedly spoke with advisers over the weekend about how to respond to mounting criticism over his handling of issues related to illegal immigration.

The Mayor’s Office would not comment on Judicial Watch’s visit to Phoenix, or about the ongoing protests at M.D. Pruitt’s Home Furnishings.

“I don’t have any comment today,” said Gordon’s spokesman, Scott Phelps, on Sunday.

Protesters did. About 200 gathered Saturday near 35th Street and Thomas Road, about half to support the mostly undocumented day laborers who look for work in the area, and half to oppose them. For the first time during the protests, deputies with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested eight people nearby on suspicion of violating immigration laws. None of those arrested were protesters.

Judicial Watch has offered legal aid to a coalition of businesses near 36th Street and Thomas, including Pruitt’s.

For years, dozens of day laborers have gathered near Pruitt’s and along a stretch of Thomas Road, between 32nd and 36th streets. They are drawn to the area by a busy home-improvement store and its customers, who hire them to paint, landscape and do other manual labor.

Many residents and business owners don’t want them there, and tensions have escalated, which last year led to protests and counterprotests……

To read entire article click here.

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They are trying to increase the number of citizenship approvals by decreasing pay but offering a cash bonus if they rubber stamp more applicants than in the past.

I’m surprised they haven’t outsourced the document processing center to Mexico yet.

NY Times

Workers who help process millions of visa and citizenship applications for a federal immigration agency are getting pay reductions just as the agency is facing an enormous surge in those applications.

The workers whose wage rate will be cut are contract employees in document processing centers in St. Albans, Vt., and Laguna Niguel, Calif., that are part of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency responsible for deciding visa applications and citizenship petitions. Some 280 of approximately 1,000 contract workers in the two centers will receive lower wages after a new contractor, Stanley Inc. of Arlington, Va., takes over tomorrow.

Dozens of workers have protested the pay cuts to Vermont and California lawmakers. During the past two weeks workers picketed in front of the federal office building in Laguna Niguel.

?If you?re trying to get people motivated to deal with a huge backlog, the last thing you would do is slash pay,? said Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, who received many calls. ?It just creates more turnover, more discontent and more demoralization.?

Officials at the immigration agency said last week that they received 2.5 million applications for visas and for naturalization in July and August, more than double the applications in the same period last year. Many immigrants rushed to file applications before large fee increases took effect July 30, officials said.

Mr. Wolking said the company would offer bonuses of up to $400 monthly to half of the workers whose wages will decrease, based on their job productivity.

The plan brought little comfort to employees whose weekly income will drop tomorrow by 12 to 20 percent.

?Everybody will be fighting over the ability for half of us to make our rent checks,? said Jeremy Murray, one of those employees, in a telephone interview. He said he had worked at the Vermont center for more than six years sorting incoming applications, making $14.54 an hour. Starting Monday, he said, he will make $12.84 an hour and will no longer be able to work overtime. He will lose as much as $400 a month.

Read more.

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AZ StarNet

Economic retaliation from Mexico is a real threat if U.S. lawmakers repeal a provision that allows Mexican truckers access to the U.S. interior, according to former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe.

“If Congress succeeds in blocking (the program) I believe Mexico could retaliate, as they are entitled to do,” the Arizona Republican told members of the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization in Tucson on Thursday.

Kolbe, who retired at the beginning of the year after 11 terms in Congress, is the new chairman of the Canamex Corridor Task Force and part of a three-member committee appointed to monitor the cross-border truck program, which has faced strong opposition from some trucking union members and politicians.

He warned that if our southern neighbors “lose patience,” U.S. companies could face higher tariffs on trade entering Mexico.

“It’s not an idle threat,” Kolbe said. “And it sends a bad message to Mexico and Latin America about how seriously we take our obligations.”

The trucking program, a provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, began in September. Before that, Mexican trucks were restricted to driving within a commercial border zone.
Attempts by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to block the entry of Mexican trucks into the U.S. failed. The Senate then approved a proposal prohibiting the Transportation Department from spending money on the program, but it continues while Congress debates a larger transportation bill that contains the provision.

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Washington Times

Both immigrants and illegal aliens are more likely to be poor and to use welfare programs than native-born Americans because they come to the country with lower levels of education, according to a new study looking at U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The problem here is not work, or a lack of willingness to work; it’s not legal status; it’s educational level at arrival,” said Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, which is releasing the report today.

The public burden is a major issue, and it was one of the disputes, along with border security and increased enforcement, that helped kill the Senate immigration bill earlier this year.

“Allowing in legal immigrants mainly based on family relationships, and tolerating widespread illegal immigration, certainly has very significant implications for social services, public schools and taxpayer services,” he said.

He said that makes sense ? native-born Americans without a high-school education also are more likely to use welfare or to live in poverty. But he said that means that the burdens illegal aliens places on taxpayers can’t be solved through amnesty because it would not raise education levels.

“You’re not going to fix the problem of high rates of welfare use just by legalizing them ? at least for the 57 percent of high school dropouts,” Mr. Camarota said.

Nearly one in three immigrant households nationwide uses a major welfare program, compared with 19.4 percent of native-born American families.

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NY Times

The Bush administration will suspend its legal defense of a new rule issued in August to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, conceding a hard-fought opening round in a court battle over a central measure in its strategy to curb illegal immigration, according to government papers filed late Friday in federal court.

Instead, the administration plans to revise the rule to try to meet concerns raised by a federal judge and issue it again by late March, hoping to pass court scrutiny on the second try. The rule would have forced employers to fire workers within 90 days if their Social Security information could not be verified.

The legal challenge was brought by an odd-fellow alliance of labor unions and business groups, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the San Francisco Labor Council as well as the United States Chamber of Commerce.

?It?s clear the government has given up defending an indefensible rule,? said Lucas Guttentag, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, another group bringing the lawsuit. ?But now they?re hoping to rush through another half-baked rule without addressing the fundamental flaws. It?s like putting lipstick on Frankenstein.?

The rule laid out procedures for employers to follow after receiving a notice from the Social Security Administration, known as a no-match letter, advising that an employee?s identity information did not match the agency?s records.

The employer would have had to fire an employee who could not provide verifiable information within 90 days, or face the risk of prosecution for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Those immigrants often present fake Social Security numbers when applying for jobs.

Read more.

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MSNBC

Sioux City, Iowa, does not at first glance appear to have a big stake in the intensifying US debate over illegal immigration.

Located nearly 1,000 miles north of the Mexican border on a stretch of the Missouri River where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota meet, it looks much like any other medium-sized town in the rural, white-dominated US heartland.

Across the river from downtown, however, neighbouring South Sioux City has a different feel. Dotted along its main street are several Mexican supermarkets and restaurants, with Spanish-language signage on the storefronts.

Nearly a quarter of South Sioux City’s 12,000-strong population is Hispanic, after an influx of immigrants to work in local meat-packing plants.

The changing racial make-up of the Sioux City area helps explain why immigration has become one of the most fiercely contested campaign issues ahead of January’s Iowa caucuses, which mark the start of the 2008 presidential nomination process.

Sioux City is one of numerous communities across Iowa and surrounding Midwest states that have experienced a surge in Hispanic immigrants - many of whom entered the country illegally.

The number of Hispanics living in Iowa grew by 37 per cent between 2000 and 2005 to 115,000, or 4 per cent of the population, according to the Iowa Division of Latino Affairs.

While the numbers are small compared with other parts of the US, the influx has had an unsettling impact on Iowa because the state is among the most racially homogenous in the US.

Iowa’s experience shows how the fast-growing US Hispanic population, once concentrated in the south-western border states, is dispersing across the country in search of new economic opportunities.

Read more.

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10,000 pounds fine for employing illegal immigrant in Britain
Hindu News
November 23, 2007

London (PTI): Britain will no longer be a welcome country for illegal immigrants. As per directives issued by the British government, businesses would have to cough up a fine of upto 10,000 pounds for every illegal immigrant they are caught employing, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported here on Friday.

Even families who have a nanny will potentially be liable for a fine as they’re technically an employer. “All firms must carry out proper checks on new employees to ensure they are legally resident in the United Kingdom,” British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne was quoted by the daily as saying.

But, in doing so, the firms must ensure they do not flout the Race Relations Act — they must treat all applicants the same, which means British workers must be made to prove they are not an illegal immigrant by producing a passport, according to the directives.

“We recommend that employers obtain a statutory excuse for all potential employees. This not only protects the employer from liability for a civil penalty, but also demonstrates consistent, transparent and non-discriminatory recruitment practices,” the papers said.

Moreover, employers will also risk punishment if they ask job applicants to speak fluent English. Under a section headed “indirect discrimination”, the papers said, “It would be discriminatory to ask for a very high standard of English when the job does not require this, or to reject an applicant who has an unfamiliar accent.”

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Newsday.com

New Haven, CT (AP) — Five Spanish-speaking immigrants have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a requirement that workers only speak English on the job at a Deep River machine shop.

The five, who are in this country legally, have filed a discrimination suit against

GC Industries, a company that makes and finishes sheet metal.

At GC Industries a ‘Common Language Policy’ posted on the bulletin board requires employees to speak English during work hours, except during breaks and lunch. The company notice cites safety, product quality and efficiency.

Policies dictating English in the workplace may be legal if a company can show a legitimate safety or business reason, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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“Very Nice!”

SR-J.com

A former supervisor and an ex-employee of the Quality Service Integrity Inc. operation in Beardstown were sentenced Monday to 38 months and 10 months in prison, respectively, for hiring illegal aliens, according to the U.S. attorney?s office.

Gerardo Dominguez-Chacon, 35, and Maria Del Pilar Marroquin, 41, both had pleaded guilty to hiring undocumented Mexicans to work for QSI, a contract cleaning company employed by the Cargill Meat Solutions plant.

Cargill itself was accused of no wrongdoing.

Dominguez-Chacon was Marroquin?s immediate supervisor. They and 16 others were charged as a result of a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raid at QSI?s offices within Cargill on April 4. Assistant U.S. attorney Gregory Gilmore prosecuted the cases.

?Today?s sentences mark the culmination of a successful worksite enforcement operation in which 18 defendants were charged, convicted and sentenced. It is appropriate that Dominguez-Chacon receive the greatest sentence, more than three years in prison, for his leadership role in hiring illegal aliens to work for the cleaning service,? Springfield-based U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton said in a news release.

Dominguez-Chacon pleaded guilty in July to one count of harboring illegal aliens and three counts of aiding aggravated identity theft. He admitted he had hired aliens without proper work authorization from December 2006 through April 3. He told QSI employees to obtain new identities and then hired them under the assumed identities, the release said.

Read more.

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