An upcoming issue of Security Magazine will cover the need for chief security officers and human resource directors to take greater care concerning new employees and the need to meet I-9 requirements by using the government’s e-Verify program.
What follows are interviews on the current state of immigration by the founder and president of the Minuteman Project Jim Gilchrist. The Minuteman Project is an activist organization started in April 2005 by a group of private individuals in the
For the first time since he arrived in the
Alvarado said he is finding it increasingly hard to get work here.
He's not alone.
A recent study by the
That's playing out locally. Officials with two
Work is one of the main reasons why illegal immigrants such as Alvarado come to this country.
Alvarado said he resorted to standing at the corner of South Santa Fe and
He gets odd jobs from homeowners and small contractors moving furniture, landscaping and painting, he said.
"This year, it got ugly," Alvarado, 32, said. "Many people are out of work and don't even have money for presents. It doesn't even feel like Christmas."
Over the last week, he said, he has worked only one day and is struggling to make ends meet.
At about 10 a.m. Tuesday, no employer had stopped to offer work to the more than 50 men standing on the sidewalk, many of whom were illegal immigrants from
Gordon Hanson, an economist at UC San Diego who specializes in immigration issues, said the jury is still out as to whether immigrants are leaving the
He said much of the data that is available was culled before the economic crisis deepened late this year.
But there are early indications they are leaving, Hanson said.
"This is an expensive place to live, and some of the hardest hit areas in the economy are construction, hospitality and retail," industries that rely heavily on immigrant labor, Hanson said.
For example, there were 248 employers in October 2005, 137 in October 2006, 78 in October 2007 and 82 in October 2008.
Officials noted that October 2007 was an unusual month because of the wildfires, when the office was closed for a few days.
The number of workers hired through the center also has declined: 489 in October 2005, 197 in October 2006, 117 in October 2007 and 128 in October 2008.
Officials with SER Jobs for Progress, a nonprofit organization that runs a labor center in
Immigration analysts agree that illegal immigrants come here for the jobs.
When there are fewer jobs, there are fewer immigrants.
There are other signs: Fewer immigrants are getting caught crossing the border illegally, according to the U.S. Border Patrol, and immigrants are sending less money home.
Border Patrol statistics show that 723,825 people were caught in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, down about 18 percent from last year.
Several of the day laborers in
"Even if I wanted to leave, I don't have money to go back," said a middle-aged man from
Some men said they had nothing to go back to.
"What are we going to do over there?" asked a Guatemalan man, who also did not want his name used. "Plant squash? It's better to live here."
Many of the men said companies are increasingly asking for proof that they are eligible to work legally in the country, such as a valid Social Security number.
U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray,
Bilbray leads the Immigration Reform Caucus, a group of congressional members who advocate for stricter immigration controls.
Alvarado, the day laborer, said he has been borrowing from friends and family to pay his rent. He said his wife does not want to go back to
But if things don't improve soon, he said, they may have no choice.
"If the economy gets worse and you don't have enough to pay rent, what are you going to do? Where are you going to go?" Alvarado asked. "I hope I don't have to go back. I hope things get better next year."