In a new twist, police in North County have adopted an old tactic to bust day laborers: undercover sting operations similar to those used against street prostitutes, according to a published report.
In an Oct. 14 operation, police officers driving unmarked cars and wearing civilian clothes approached day laborers on El Camino Real in Carlsbad and pretended to offer them work, reported the North County Times. The workers were driven a few blocks away where they were cited under the city's anti-hawking ordinance, police said. Nine people were cited and nine others suspected of being in the country illegally were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol, Carlsbad police Capt. Neil Gallucci said.
The undercover stings and the anti-solicitation law that police are using to cite the workers have opened a legal can of worms. Other cities in the county and in the country that have tried to regulate day laborers have run into similar problems: How do you restrict day laborers without running afoul of their right to seek work?
Police said they are simply trying to address a safety problem. It's dangerous for drivers to stop on busy roads to pick up the workers, Gallucci said. Migrant rights advocates, however, said it's simply the latest scare tactic used by the city to get rid of day laborers, whom some residents consider an eyesore.