Day Laborer 'Hiring Halls' Raise a Ruckus

In many cities and towns across America, illegal immigrants (search) wait for work on street corners or in convenience store parking lots.

Now, so-called "hiring halls," where laborers can put their names on a list and wait for employers to walk in and hire them for $80 to $100 a day, are being promoted as a way of getting illegal immigrants off the streets.

Citing the benefits of security and convenience, pro-immigrant groups are backing the creation of official sites for day laborers. But opponents object, saying that would only contribute to the growing problem of illegal immigration.

"Would one big crack house in each city make us comfortable with the drug problem?" asked James Staudenraus of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (search). "What you're talking about is illegal activity — it is illegal to hire people in this country who are illegal aliens, it is illegal for them to be here, it is illegal for them to work here."

But supporters of the halls say they are the best option for immigrant workers.

"We are facilitating the place so the matching of the employee and employer takes place in a safe environment," said Pat Blanco, executive director of the Long Island-based La Fuerza Unida (search), Inc., which offers immigration services to area residents. "They are here, okay, and they're not going away, so how do we make it better for everyone?"

Click on the video link near the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Rick Leventhal.