Day Laborers with Murky Immigration Status for Hire in Lake Worth | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Day Laborers with Murky Immigration Status for Hire in Lake Worth

The Lake Worth Resource Center opened two months ago with the aim of securing employment for day laborers, many of whom probably don't have work visas. Depending on your point of view, it arrives at either the best, or worst, of possible moments.

The economy is in the crapper, putting seasoned carpenters, contractors, and laborers of all stripes out of work. Lisa Wilson, the center's director, estimates that 85 percent of the 1,100 job seekers that have registered with the center's database are immigrants that might normally congregate on street corners or in front of Home Depots in search of odd jobs. She figures that another 10 percent are U.S. citizens.

"We are in deeper trouble than we realize in terms of whether or not some of our neighbors can put food on the table," Wilson says. "We see people that haven't eaten in a few days, and I'm talking about families."

The center has circulated a flier that asks local residents to hire one of its workers for a week. For $240-$400, potential "employers" can get, say, a roof pressure-cleaned or a garden planted. The flier even comes with a clip-able coupon that reads "Offer Expires: When the Economy Stabilizes!" Click here to view the flier. 

Wilson says the campaign has resulted in 25 job matches so far. "One week's worth of wages is enough to create temporary relief for a struggling family. We've had people call in and say, 'I'm going to gift a week. Please find me a senior citizen or single mother who needs help.' That will buy them some hours with a handyman or housekeeper or whatever."