OT life in New Orleans

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/16/us/16hispanic.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all
Day Laborers Are Easy Prey in New Orleans
By ADAM NOSSITER
NEW ORLEANS — They are the men still rebuilding New Orleans more than three years after Hurricane Katrina, the head-down laborers from Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala who work on the blazing hot roofs and inside the fetid homes for a wad of cash at the end of the day.
But on the street, these laborers are known as “walking A.T.M.’s.”
Their pockets stuffed with bills, the laborers are vulnerable because of language problems and their status as illegal immigrants. And as Hispanics have become the prey of choice in crumbling neighborhoods here in one of America’s most crime-ridden cities, racial friction between the newcomers and longtime black residents has moved close to the surface.
Geovanny Billado, a worker from Honduras, spoke of one incident in which “they waited to punch me,” and “one of them stabs me with a knife.” It was four against one, Mr. Billado said, and he lost the $350 he had earned; another time, it was seven against one.
“You don’t get a chance to say anything,” he said. “They just fall on top of you. It’s better to just give the money up front. If you don’t give it to them, they’ll beat you and take it anyway.”
It is an under-the-radar crime epidemic: unarmed Hispanic workers are regularly mugged, beaten, chased, stabbed or shot, the police and the workers themselves say. The ruined homes they sometimes squat in, doubling- or quadrupling-up at night, are broken into, and they have been made to lie face down while being robbed.
They are shot when, not understanding a mugger’s command, they fail to hand over their cash quickly enough, shot while they are working on houses, and shot when they go home for the day. Some have been killed, their bodies flown home to families who had been dependent on their remittances.
News reports suggest that at least a half-dozen Hispanic workers have been shot and killed in the metropolitan area since Hurricane Katrina, though the police say they have no idea of the precise number. At least once a week, the police receive reports of a mugging or a holdup — certainly an undercount, since illegal workers with little or no English generally do not go to the authorities.
For the workers, the violence is a grim fact of their life here, one more risk among many. Waiting for work on recent chilly mornings outside a Lowe’s store on Elysian Fields Avenue and at the edge of an inner-city gas station, more than a dozen Hispanic workers spoke of their vulnerability — to the bosses they see as cheating them, the police they see as harassing or ignoring them, and the criminals who prey on them.
Unshaven after spending nights in the open air and ragged in their paint-flecked work clothes, the men said that when guns are pointed at them, they have no choice but to hand over their cash.
When the day is over, and their employer for the day drops them off in the darkened Lowe’s parking lot, thugs could be waiting in the shadows for them, several said.
With resignation but no visible anger, more than half told of being threatened or robbed. One man, Armando Cruz, from Honduras, asserted flatly, to nods of assent, “Most of us here have been robbed.”
Many bluntly assigned a racial component, saying that it was “los morenos” — their colloquial term for blacks — who were after them. “When we are leaving here after work, we have to go on foot,” Mr. Billado said, speaking through an interpreter. “The blacks are waiting for us. They’ll beat you up. They’ll take your money.”
Such incidents can occur more than once a week, Mr. Billado said.
The police, the men said, either ignore their calls, admonish them for being in the country illegally or arrive too late at a crime scene to do any good.
“The blacks know when we have cash,” said Juan Guillermo Medina, another waiting worker. “Yes, it’s dangerous. But we have to be here. It’s the risk we run.”
Juan Francisco Suazo, another worker, recounted an incident in January outside a grocery when he was jumped by two men, one of whom grabbed him around the shoulders while the other brandished a milk crate over his head. The muggers took five days’ wages, Mr. Suazo said.
Outside the Lowe’s, another Honduran, Danny Diaz, recalled an incident in which he and a friend were coming out of a store and were ordered to turn over their money by two armed men. His friend was shot in the shoulder, Mr. Diaz said; it was one of three times Mr. Diaz had been assaulted in two months.
Roger Cruz, from Honduras, said: “A lot of people don’t know how to defend themselves. There’s racism of blacks against Latinos.”
The accusation of racism does not ring true to some city leaders. The Hispanic workers tacitly acknowledge some unfamiliarity with the dangerous ways of inner-city life, and in the eyes of some in New Orleans, they have mistaken simple opportunism for racism.
It is not exactly racial prejudice that makes the Hispanic laborers the target of choice, said the Rev. John C. Raphael Jr., a black former New Orleans police officer and now a minister who has led anticrime rallies here.
“I think it’s not directly racial,” Mr. Raphael said, but rather “the fact that they were vulnerable, they were taken advantage of.”
Mr. Raphael, one of the most prominent faces in the anticrime movement in New Orleans, called the widespread crime against Hispanic workers a “tremendous tragedy.”
“These guys work hard all day,” he said, noting the contrast between the massed laborers waiting for work at a gas station at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Claiborne Avenue and a group of men drinking beer in the median nearby.
Janssen Valencia, a police officer who acts as an interpreter and occasionally as a radio counselor for Hispanic laborers here, urges them to hide their money and vary their walking patterns.
“It’s very sad that they’re here helping us rebuild, yet you have an element that’s targeting them,” Officer Valencia said. “They work all week. Then comes the weekend, they get robbed.”
“What they really voice is: ‘That money was for the family. We don’t harm anybody. Why does anybody mess with us?’ ”
As work has tightened up with the economic downturn, the atmosphere has turned even grimmer. The muggings continue unabated, even as work days drop off.
“They took money from everybody,” said Cesar Reynoso, a Guatemalan, recalling the afternoon in December when he and five friends were robbed in the rough Central City neighborhood. They were in a sports field, Mr. Reynosa said, and four men pointed guns at them. They took $1,200 from the laborers.
“They just came up and took our stuff,” he said. “They were just yelling at us.”
He said the laborers called the police, “but they took forever to get there.”
The men expressed some bewilderment at finding themselves in the crosshairs, and more than a few directed earnest appeals to President Obama to alleviate their plight.
“We dedicate ourselves to look for work, and we just want the chance to be here,” said Mr. Cruz, the Honduran. “We have children to support.”
Jennifer Whitney contributed reporting.
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Simple cure. Illegals go home. Americans need jobs and some of them pack. Think of it as a twofer.
Wes
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wrote:

It certainly seems like the upstanding citizens of New Orleans are ready and willing to work!
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Might be caused by lack of ATM machines?
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ATP* wrote:

I don't sea SMILEY at the end of that. :-) ...lew...
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On Mon, 16 Feb 2009 05:29:53 -0500, the infamous Wes

STRONGLY seconded, Wes.
-- I'm still waiting for another sublime, transcendent flash of adequacy. --Winnie of RCM
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QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE: Mr. Raphael, one of the most prominent faces in the anticrime movement in New Orleans, called the widespread crime against Hispanic workers a tremendous tragedy.
These guys work hard all day, he said, noting the contrast between the massed laborers waiting for work at a gas station at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Claiborne Avenue and a group of men drinking beer in the median nearby. UNQUOTE
Umm...exactly who do you think these guys drinking beer in the nearby median were? That's right....the local negroes.
It's sort of difficult to hire them for construction work because the only skill set they have developed is predatory criminal behavior, ergo, while the Hispanics work to rebuild New Orleans they will just watch and wait for their opportunity to steal the Hispanic's cash wages.
New Orleans black community had this culture of crime long before the flood and the Hispanics got there. The drug murders were raging there for years before. Dave
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On Feb 16, 12:59am, Ignoramus20263 <ignoramus20...@NOSPAM. 20263.invalid> wrote:

And the locals remain unemployed?
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I say deport the locals and keep the illegal workers.
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Perfect. And you can go with them. Be happy.
dennis in nca
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I don't mind people that are willing to work.
Who is more of a a drag on society:
1) illegal workers 2) lifetime welfare recipients
I prefer neither, but #1 is my pick if had to choose.
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20263.invalid> wrote:

And the locals remain unemployed?
Depends on what you consider "employed". Many of them are working in sales and distribution.
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wrote:

In the Recreational Pharmacutical Industry......
"Upon Roosevelt's death in 1945, H. L. Mencken predicted in his diary that Roosevelt would be remembered as a great president, "maybe even alongside Washington and Lincoln," opining that Roosevelt "had every quality that morons esteem in their heroes.""
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When you're not willing to work, you remain unemployed. This is a correct observation.
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********************************************************************* "When you're not willing to work, you remain unemployed. This is a correct observation." ********************************************************************* And remember: Not wanting to work at or below minimum is NO EXCUSE, because we now have people available who WILL work for garbage wages AND keep their mouths shut about it AND you don't have to pay any benefits!!!! (JUST learn to ignore the increases in crime rates, OK?)
I'm sure this is what you had in mind.
dennis in nca
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********************************************************************* "When you're not willing to work, you remain unemployed. This is a correct observation." ********************************************************************* And remember: Not wanting to work at or below minimum is NO EXCUSE, because we now have people available who WILL work for garbage wages AND keep their mouths shut about it AND you don't have to pay any benefits!!!! (JUST learn to ignore the increases in crime rates, OK?)
I'm sure this is what you had in mind.
dennis in nca
They're not working for below minimum wage and they're certainly not responsible for increasing the crime rate in New Orleans! I don't support illegal immigration as the solution, but employers are having a hard time finding people that are willing to put in a hard day's work, regardless of the hourly wage.
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*********************************************************************** "They're not working for below minimum wage and they're certainly not responsible for increasing the crime rate in New Orleans! I don't support illegal immigration as the solution, but employers are having a hard time finding people that are willing to put in a hard day's work, regardless of the hourly wage." *********************************************************************** Illegal immigrents DO work for less than minimum; where have you lived for the last 20-30 years? Unless you have some proof otherwise?
Employers paying a "living" wage have no trouble finding help, show us otherwise.
You say you don't support illegal immigration BUT......... BUT? BUT? Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL; don't you understand the meaning of the word?? You're as bad as they are.
dennis in nca
Your comment concerning these
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*********************************************************************** "They're not working for below minimum wage and they're certainly not responsible for increasing the crime rate in New Orleans! I don't support illegal immigration as the solution, but employers are having a hard time finding people that are willing to put in a hard day's work, regardless of the hourly wage." *********************************************************************** Illegal immigrents DO work for less than minimum; where have you lived for the last 20-30 years? Unless you have some proof otherwise?
They typically don't work for less than minimum in the construction trades.
More than ten years ago illegal immigrants hired off the corner in NY were making about $100 cash a day.
Employers paying a "living" wage have no trouble finding help, show us otherwise.
Employers that I know that need manual labor done hire immigrants- not illegals, mind you- at prevailing wage rates, $25 plus per hour. They are willing to work hard in hot or cold weather, something most native-born Americans have a problem with. They are not slave-driven either, they get breaks and lunch.
You say you don't support illegal immigration BUT......... BUT? BUT? Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL; don't you understand the meaning of the word?? You're as bad as they are.
I don't buy the argument that illegal immigration is such a boon to the economy, and I certainly don't think we need to encourage illegals to come here so that we can all sit on our asses and get our lawn mowing done cheap, or so that Tyson Chicken can get cheap workers. I do think there is a problem with fat and lazy Americans who don't want to work and I think New Orleans is certainly no exception to that rule!
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*********************************************************************** "They're not working for below minimum wage and they're certainly not responsible for increasing the crime rate in New Orleans! I don't support illegal immigration as the solution, but employers are having a hard time finding people that are willing to put in a hard day's work, regardless of the hourly wage." *********************************************************************** Illegal immigrents DO work for less than minimum; where have you lived for the last 20-30 years? Unless you have some proof otherwise?
Employers paying a "living" wage have no trouble finding help, show us otherwise.
You say you don't support illegal immigration BUT......... BUT? BUT? Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL; don't you understand the meaning of the word?? You're as bad as they are.
dennis in nca
Your comment concerning these\
-----------------------------------------
Where do you live where you can hire illegal's for less than minimum wage? Or any day laborer for less than minimum wage? Most get at the minimum $10 an hour. When I was in Slidell, LA after Katrina, working with a local church group from California, there were signs all over the area looking for workers for the food places. Most restaurants were only open part of the day. Unskilled roofers were getting $25 an hour. So how you going to get a burger flipper at McD's for the $10.50 / hr plus $500 bonus for working 6 months? But in New Orleans itself, the locals were not even cleaning up their neighborhoods. They were a welfare society before Katrina and still do not want to work. Only reason that NOLA did not show up on the FBI's criminal cities list is they were 25,000 people to small. To get the same murder rate in New York as NOLA, NYC would have had to increase theirs about 20x. Maybe you should get out and try to run a business to find out about the real world.
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But it's dropping http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/news/2009/jan/02/new-orleans-crime-rate-down-08 /
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