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June 12, 2003
City Passes Ordinance on Hiring of Day Laborers
The City Council of Pasadena, Calif. has approved an ordinance that prohibits employers from stopping on the street to hire day laborers.

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The Pasadena Star-News reports that a number of other cities have passed laws in attempts to reduce the number of day laborers on public streets. Courts have struck down many of the ordinances as unconstitutional, the newspaper reports.

In Pasadena, drivers would face a $100 fine if they stop to hire day laborers in areas designated as "no solicitation" zones, according to the newspaper.

Supporters of the ordinance say it is narrow enough to pass legal challenge because it would target the drivers picking up the day laborers, not the workers themselves.

Opponents disagree, the newspaper reports.

"People have the right to congregate on sidewalks," says Thomas Saenz, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund in Los Angeles. "It's a protected right, and this tries to limit that right out of animosity toward day laborers."

Pasadena has a nonprofit center dedicated to providing job training and work that pays at least minimum wage for day laborers, but most day laborers opt to wait in the street, according to Hanford Dixon, the center's outreach coordinator.

Saenz and Dixon tell the newspaper that with more funding the center could attract more day laborers and employers.

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