This op-ed from NorthJersey.com (a collection of articles from the NJ Herald News and The Record) discusses the problem of day laborers in North Jersey. New Jersey does not have official day labor centers. Instead, they have “muster zones,” public property where men and women can congregate and wait for someone to hire them.
What is remarkable about this piece is its honesty. The author is frank about the fact that he would not want to live near a muster zone, nor would he be comfortable if his children were out playing near the sites where day laborers congregate. But he also understands that American citizens also benefit from undocumented immigration, and that this is a federal problem that effects local municipalities. As such, localities should not be trying to limit undocumented immigration or enforcing federal immigration law. He writes,
Municipalities should be pro-active in finding locations for hiring halls and muster zones that do not threaten the quality of their lives or put children in a perceived risk. Municipalities should also heavily fine and prosecute landlords who repeatedly violate zoning laws. Twelve people in an apartment is not an immigration issue, it’s a public safety issue.
This op-ed is typical of many I’ve been reading from around the country since the elections. It is honest and well-reasoned. I do not agree with every point made here, but it points to a hopeful future for comprehensive immigration reform.