Almost every morning Alberto Perez stands on South Florida street corners looking for work -- one of thousands of day laborers hired to pick crops, fix roofs, cut grass or clean houses.
These laborers depend on quick payments to feed themselves, pay rent or send money to families in their home countries. But often the people who hire them don't pay.
Perez, a 26-year-old immigrant from Guatemala who four weeks ago was hired to landscape gardens at homes around South Miami-Dade, said he was promised $100 per day. Instead, he said, he got only $50 to $75 per day. After help from an activist group, he recouped some of the remaining money that was promised.
Perez's story is not unique, but has become almost normal for day laborers, particularly those who are undocumented immigrants.
The issue has reached the Miami-Dade County Commission, which on Feb. 28 passed an ordinance requiring employers to pay within 14 days of contracting the work unless a consistent pay schedule has been established.
Interviews last month in South Florida with 15 foreign-born day laborers revealed how many are short-changed.
Wage theft, as the practice is known, is a form of robbery, according to immigrant-rights activists who have stepped forward to help workers recover their unpaid wages.
Read the complete story at miamiherald.coM