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03-05-2008 - Day Laborers Nabbed in Sting

Before you continue, please read the article in PDF format.

     If you have read my blog for any period of time, then you know I think this is long past due.  I also think that they should not have stopped at the street.  There is a whole parking lot full of these day laborers.

 OK, now that you have read the article I want to make some things very clear.

  • I am a great fan of the Lewisville Police Department.

  • My wife and I have taken the Citizens Police Academy course offered by the City.  We have joined the Alumni Association and plan to be active.

  • I regularly discuss issues with the police chief and he is an outstanding individual as would be expected.  I appreciate his patience as I keep asking the questions that I do ask.

BUT, I have a few questions (and some from readers) that I did not get answers to in the article.  I ask these questions because I want to know and I do not think any of these questions are illegal to ask.  These questions are not by any means to degrade the Lewisville police department or the writer of the article in any way.  I just want to know.
The format is:

  • My Questions and the Questions asked by some of the readers of this blog.

    • Answers from James Kunke (the City Public Information Officer) on 03-07-2008.

  • I was wondering what the proper identification was for the 4th day laborer? A valid Texas Drivers License? A foreign ID Card?  Was he a U.S. Citizen or here legally with a proper work visa? Was anything verified?   I do not know the legal status of the fourth person for sure but I am going to guess that he is here legally.

    • "He had a verifiable state identification (either drivers license or state identification card -- I do not know which) that showed him to be a legal resident. He was issued a citation at the site and released."

  • What was the citation? A ticket? A summons to appear in court? What will happen if the citation is not paid or he does not appear in court?  Apparently he does not have a steady job.  Will he be able to afford to pay it?

    • It is a ticket, just as with any other municipal citation (e.g. traffic violations, code violations). He can either pay the fine, or ask for a court hearing. In either case, if he does not pay or appear in court then an arrest warrant would be issued and he would be subject to arrest.

  • If he was a citizen, why is he out there all day in the weather waiting for a day labor job.  He is not getting paid to wait and I would guess that he would make more money working at a fast food restaurant which usually pays more than minimum wage.  I want to know his story.  Sounds like a good human interest story that the newspaper might want to do.  Maybe someone would hire this person once they hear his story that he is down on his luck - assuming that he is a legal resident of the USA.  Or does he work under the radar because he has something to hide?

    • This Section not addressed in answers

  • Why do we allow this day laborer solicitation on this parking lot?  Why is it legal on the parking lot and not at the street?   Since it is private property, am I breaking the law to drive in that parking lot?

    • You hit on the key phrase in your question when you refer to it as "private property." Just as we cannot regulate Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of Wal-Mart, we also cannot regulate individuals conducting business in the parking lot of a shopping center. Two exceptions -- if the specific business being conducted is, in itself, an illegal act (e.g. narcotics) or if the property owner has asked the individuals to leave and then asks police to enforce the trespassing violation. Streets, however, are public rights-of-way and therefore the city does have full authority to regulate the use of the streets.

  • Being called Huffines Plaza, I wonder what Mr. Huffines has to say about these day laborers on this parking lot?  Does he own it?

    • The shopping center has not been owned by the Huffines family or the Huffines Auto Group for many years. It currently is owned by an out-of-town property company and managed by a local representative. The center currently has 100 percent occupancy.

    • (NOTE: A reader of this blog sent a link for the Denton Central Appraisal District about this property.)

  • Why do we allow people to hire people under the table.  Where is the EEOC? Where is the Texas Employment Commission?  Where is the IRS?  Where are the border patrol agents?

    • This Section not addressed in answers

  • Why are we allowing people and companies to hire these people for cash and not pay taxes like other businesses?  From this one little sting and after ICE does their background, we can guess that 3/4 (or more) are illegal aliens?

    • This Section not addressed in answers


That's what I want to know,

John Gorena

03-07-2008:  What I know (or don't know) is that:

  • The identification was valid for enforcement purposes. I don't know what form of identification was used but it satisfied their purpose.

  • At the point of issuing citations, they do not verify citizenship or legal status.  Therefore, at this point, I think it is not verified that any of the four were here legally or not.

  • Unless those at the Day Laborer pickup area at Huffines plaza or seven-eleven are committing more serious crimes, then nothing will be done about the sites.  Maybe more of you should complain publicly.  Organize a rally there (check with police first because we are law abiding citizens, ask for a permit to be in the street, etc...) - until the owner complains and calls the police to ask you to leave.

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