This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The New York Times
To the Editor:
Across Westchester County, residents are reacting to day laborers with a level of fear appropriate for a plague (“In Brewster, a Backlash Against Day Laborers,” Feb. 5).
These laborers, mostly Hispanic men, are not criminals, sexual predators or panhandlers. They are industrious types who were compelled to leave their homes and families thousands of miles away in order to find a way to make an honest dollar. They are not taking away jobs. They are often performing jobs that others will not do, or will not do for the same discounted price.
Instead of acting with unjustified fear that has, at the least, racial overtones, let’s provide better, more organized ways for them to obtain work, under fair conditions. They should be recognized for their industrious spirits, instead of ostracized for their foreignness and frequent lack of documentation. They put many American citizens, who would rather live off the public dole, to shame, and they set positive examples for young people.
It is time to adopt a more generous, less fearful way of thinking about our day laborers.
Andrew J. Barovick