Illegal Immigrants Brazenly Flout Law in Lake Worth, FL

On March 8th, the “Palm Beach Post” published a news story written by Andrew Marra with this title: “Home Depot at standoff with laborers who swarm customers in bid for work.” In the story, Mr. Marra detailed the activities of some folks who tend to congregate in front of a Home Depot in the hopes of being hired as day laborers. Apparently, while standing on the side of the road, they can be picked up by employers who come along in trucks with the promise of a day’s labor and pay. At the same time, they are accused by Home Depot of bothering customers, loitering, and trespassing. The laborers are allowed by law enforcement officials to continue gathering there, but only on the small strip of public land between the street and Home Depot’s property. The laborers don’t always honor these limitations.

The story goes on to personalize the plight of these workers by detailing the life and circumstances of Gonzalo Garcia, an “undocumented Guatemalan national.” He is described as mustachioed and graying, age 49 and father of four. According to the article, until being laid off recently, Mr. Garcia held a regular construction job. Now, Mr. Garcia just wants to work so he is forced to compete more for the dwindling number of jobs available. “We’re not here because we want to be here,” he told the reporter in Spanish. “We need to be.”

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office has offered repeated warning to the collections of laborers. They have arrested some for trespassing. They have even engaged in undercover sting operations to try to deal with their unruly behavior, about which Home Depot has complained. Law enforcement is clearly highly aware of these folks.