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Local News in Brief : Costa Mesa : City Establishes a Day Laborer Hiring Hall

In the latest attempt to rid the city’s streets and parks of day laborers seeking employment, Costa Mesa today will open a hiring hall for eligible dayworkers in an abandoned gas station at Placentia Avenue and 17th Street.

To force workers and contractors to use the hiring hall, the city attorney’s office also is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal to solicit employment or pick up workers from streets and parks, according to Cheryl Friedling, the city’s intergovernmental relations officer.

The hiring hall is intended as a meeting place for laborers, who have documents to prove that they can work legally in this country, and contractors. It will be open daily from 6 to 10 a.m.

Workers from the American Immigrant Foundation, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit group that helps immigrants, will check the laborers’ documents and turn away those who do not qualify, Friedling said. But neither they nor city workers will monitor the terms of the laborers’ employment.

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“It’s not going to be a situation where (we) will enforce the state labor laws,” she said.

City officials acknowledged that they do not know if the plan will work, because they do not know how many day laborers have obtained legal status.

“That’s what we’re going to find out,” Mayor Donn Hall said Monday. “We’re looking at it with a positive attitude. It’s something that nobody else has tried.”


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