Monday, May 15, 2006

Austin Caters to Illegals

According to some family members living in the Austin area — who, by the way, lean politically much to the left of center — a large majority of Austin citizens still are not very happy with the city's open-arm policy of "undocumented workers" (read illegal aliens). Even the residents of this liberal bastion seem to understand what our so-called "conservative" leadership does not.

In Austin's case, one of the biggest complaints locals have is over the city-sponsored "day labor center," which serves as a sort of headquarter for day laborers — the vast majority of whom are reportedly illegal aliens — to meet up with potential short term employers. The center is taking up thousands of dollars of the city's already swollen budget, and residents around the existing center (and the nearby Home Depot that serves as an alternative gathering place) are not happy with the people it draws into their neighborhood.
The city spends about $253,000 a year to lease the property and staff the current day labor center, [Health and Human Services Directory David] Lurie said. The converted bus station averages 150 to 200 workers per day, with 60 percent to 70 percent getting jobs, he said. [...snip...]

Workers have complained about the bureaucracy of the center, where jobs are assigned through a lottery system, and many have bypassed it to wait for work near the Home Depot at I-35 and St. Johns Avenue, bringing complaints from nearby residents.
So city leaders have finally come up with a solution for the growing problem: build a second center!
City of Austin officials are looking on the south side of town for a site for a second day labor center.

"When the first day labor center opened, we always envisioned it as a start, but we were never going to have just one site," Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald said.
When I got into the office this morning, I was met with a phone message and two emails from my cousins Marcus and Anthony, who both live in Austin. Apparently the report of the new center was the talk of the town this weekend, and the talk is already beginning to get ugly.

On a side note, I found it very interesting that the Austin-American Statesman article never once makes reference to the fact that these day labor centers are used primarily by illegal immigrants, referring instead simply to "workers." Apparently this newspaper shares the view of our own Houston Comical that as long as they do not say or report on it, then it must not be true.

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