Posted on September 2, 2004

Residents: Workers, Move On

Cathy Cobbs, Dunwoody Crier (Cal.), Aug. 31

Residents in the Dunwoody North and Tilly Mill Road area say they are sick of their area being “an employment agency for cheap labor” and want the dozens of Hispanics who wait by the side of the road for their next job to move along.

However, police and federal agencies say they have neither the personnel nor the facilities to do a sweep of the loiterers, many of whom they suspect are illegal aliens.

At least one complaint has been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which has been referred to an investigator.

On Monday morning that the workers were spread along Tilly Mill, with dozens congregating on a bridge near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Several small clusters also evident around Home Depot, various gas stations and convenience markets within a 100-yard range.

Neighbors in the Dunwoody North area say that they are often surrounded by the eager workers when pulling into parking lots, but that complaints to police and federal agencies are being ignored.

One resident who complained to state Rep. Jill Chambers (R-Chamblee) said she was told “as long as the local businesses allow the people to loiter on their property, the DeKalb police will not interfere.”

The resident was also told that the INS doesn’t have the jail space to round up the suspected illegal aliens or the funds to send them back to their home countries.

“I want the authorities to make those people go somewhere else and I want them to check all the documents in the process,” the resident said.

Chambers suggested that concerned residents make complaint phone calls to the business owners who allow the loitering, or organize a boycott of the business.

An agent with the USCIS said he could not comment on the specifics of any case referred to the agency.

“You would have to join the academy to find out what would happen to a specific case,” he said. “What they do in general is take the complaint, investigate the complaint and take action.”

A call to the USCIS media representative was not returned prior to The Crier’s press time.

Chambers is attending the Republican National Convention in New York andcould not be reached for comment.