Dallas News

Lewisville, TX — Traffic problems caused by day laborers who go onto the street seeking employment have forced police officials to use plainclothes officers to try to halt the practice, authorities say.

But the undercover operation — now in its sixth month — has caused anxiety among some workers who fear that the police effort may actually be an attempt to catch illegal immigrants.

‘This is supposed to be a humanitarian country, a land of union and freedom,’ said Jose Rodriguez, who gathers with dozens of other laborers each day at Huffines Plaza in hopes of being hired by passing contractors. ‘But you go out in fear, and you don’t know if you’ll make it back home. That’s not freedom.’

Police say they are simply concerned about safety, not illegal immigration. They say laborers block traffic at Interstate 35E and State Highway 121 when they rush out into the street to meet would-be employers.

‘Some [laborers] are not happy with the operation,’ Lewisville police Capt. Kevin Deaver said Tuesday. ‘We would hope they would realize that we’re also doing this for their safety.

‘We’re not enforcing immigration, we’re just contacting the ones that are breaking the city ordinance and the state law,’ he added. ‘Whenever they’re in the plaza, we never have contact with them.’

Authorities say looking for work in the streets is illegal, but laborers can request jobs on private property like the Huffines Plaza parking lot with the owners’ permission — as long as they don’t block the roads.

Police have conducted three undercover operations in the past six months, the last on Feb. 28. Six people have been given citations, and 10 others have been arrested on charges of solicitation by a pedestrian, a Class C misdemeanor that carries a maximum $500 fine.

Those who can’t provide identification are arrested, Capt. Deaver said. Of the 10 who have been arrested, seven claimed Mexico and three claimed Guatemala as their countries of origin, he said.

Capt. Deaver said none of the people arrested or cited in the operations has been transferred to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

‘It’s obvious this is not an immigration issue since no one has been referred to ICE,’ Capt. Deaver said.

Capt. Deaver said an undercover operation is necessary ‘because they wouldn’t come out in the street’ if they saw marked police cars approaching, he said. ‘Our hope is to gain compliance, and we will not have to have the operations.’

Dallas lawyer Domingo Garcia said he and others are considering suing the city for racial profiling. He said they will find out if the law that prohibits job searching in the streets targets Hispanics.

‘That law is unconstitutional,’ Mr. Garcia said.

He added that he is trying to forge an agreement with the city of Lewisville similar to one with Garland and Denton, where there are laborer centers that allow workers to meet with potential employers.

4 Responses to “Texas Town Deploys Plainclothes Officers To Police Day Laborers”
  1. jo says:

    more dumb sh*t. PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. HellDogger says:

    I had a run of bad luck one time and I had to go to the day labor company for a few weeks till I could get something better. They take out taxes & all. Why are these street corner outfits aloud. This is loitering.

  3. BEADALONG says:

    They need to come to Blossom Hill and Santa Teresa Boulevard in San Jose, CA!

    I wonder though for temporary jobs for legal people, there are Temp Agencies like Manpower, etc. I had to use that for a while unfortunately.

  4. BEADALONG says:

    Speaking of Manpower, I didn’t realize I was sensitive and badly reacted to remodeling going on in the Manpower building at the time….I was going there for a computer training class on the basics-like Xcel (about 10 yrs ago) and I got so sick from the fumes I had to leave.

    I tried to stick it out {I didn’t really understand until later that day what had made me sick-it had happened to me one time before when a mall store had remodeled and I had to run out of there-the fresh paint/new carpet were quite overwhelming)…..and at the end of the day, everybody else got this nice book when they completed the course. I didn’t even make it past the 1st section of the training class….and I ended up in the parking lot for a while barely able to make out why I was even there in the first place. I was very disoriented. It was pretty bizarre. It was a good thing I wasn’t driving that day and walked home…..I’ve never been to a Manpower since and I avoided remodeling like the plague–now that I’ve learned that Remodeling and me don’t get along very well.

    Yea, I know this has nothing to do with the Day labor topic, but being this sensitive to my environment has done a great deal to crash my employment potential because I have to be basically stuck at home and our Mainstream Medical Community and Mainstream Media has denied our (MCS) existence or ridiculed it.

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