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December 12, 2006 > Day Laborers

Day Laborers

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) _ A strip mall will be allowed to let a security guard file trespassing complaints to keep out day laborers who cluster there looking for jobs.

Officials in the southern Orange County city voted in October to permit property owners to hire a guard who can file trespassing complaints on behalf of out-of-town owners. The law had required the owners themselves to complain before sheriff's deputies could make arrests.

Strip mall property owners said the laborers urinate in public, loiter and cause traffic problems by hailing cars.

“Our problem is not that they are here, but there are a lot of unsavory things that go along with them being here all the time,” property owner Sue Waltman said.

A $1,400-a-week security guard will be hired because it “puts eyes on the problem,” Waltman said. “The police don't see much of what goes on.”

Day laborers said they simply want to work.

“We are here because we are needed. We do the jobs Americans won't do,” said Pedro Lopez, 34, who entered the country illegally about five years ago. “We don't want any problems. We just want to work.”
The loudest complaints mostly have come from members of the Minuteman Project. The citizen border patrol group has stepped up protests at the mall in recent months.

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