Migrant workers seek better life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 23, 2004

By: J.R. Rivas/Guest Columnist

Several incidents have occurred in the last six weeks involving people of Latin descent in our community who are not employed with Personal Touch.

As a result of these incidents our community has become concerned about people working here illegally.

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I felt compelled to write this article to address these concerns and to offer possible solutions to the problem.

Since 1997 Personal Touch has been in business to provide labor services in Demopolis and through out the state of Alabama.

With the growth of our business over the years we have found it necessary to employ a percentage of our employees from outside our area.

We work hard each year with the Department of Labor and the Immigration Service to bring people here legally.

There is a need for a labor force in and around our area and it must be done in the right way in order to run a successful operation.

The process of recruiting workers from outside the United States is strictly regulated by both the Department of Labor and the Immigration Services.

The first step in the process is to attempt to recruit needed workers from our larger local area by advertising in The Tuscaloosa News or The Birmingham News.

Once all available workers have been recruited through these sources, the process of recruiting outside the United States begins.

This process requires traveling to the actual area where recruiting and screening each individual applicant.

Those approved then complete the final portion of the process which consists of interviews with the American Embassy to obtain Visa, Passport and I-94 cards which allows them to legally work in the United States.

Although the required process is lengthy and expensive, its rewards are having migrant workers with good work ethics living in our community in approved housing.

Local businesses need to know how to recognize legal documents from what might be fake and/or illegal.

If you question the authenticity of documents, call your local law enforcement agency.

You can check with the Social Security Office on a question with a social security card.

To learn about the required procedures and the forms that are needed for legally recruiting and hiring H2A or H2B workers you can go to www.uscis.gov for this information.

Most people migrating to the United States do so in order to have a better life.

I don’t wish to criticize anyone for wanting to better themselves.

It is truly a privilege to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Let us not forget that most of our ancestors immigrated to this great country at one time or another.

J.R. Rivas is owner of the local business Personal Touch.