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L.A. Workers Join Fierce Debate Over Immigration

By Teresa Watanabe
Drexell Johnson and his Young Black Contractors of South Central Inc. are hungry for work ?
and when polite requests for an opportunity are rebuffed, they're not afraid to raise a ruckus.

After Johnson was cut out of a contract when Staples Center was being built, he drove to the construction site,
spinning 360-degree rolls and kicking up doughnuts of dust until, he said, a bulldozer nearly ran him down.
In Torrance, his group staged a mock hanging in front of an automaker's office.
Their anger is fueled by a 14% unemployment rate among African Americans in Los Angeles, twice as high as among whites.

So the news that President Bush and some members of Congress are pushing to bring more blue-collar guest workers into the country
? perhaps 400,000 annually ? leaves the contractors indignant.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) opposes a large-scale guest-worker program outside agriculture,
fearing it will increase illegal immigration.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, also a California Democrat, has voiced similar fears, opposing Bush's proposal.
But their constituents are strongly divided, as was demonstrated last week when activists held dueling rallies at Feinstein's Los Angeles office.

A coalition of churches, labor unions and immigrant advocacy groups staged a noisy rally,
featuring *Korean drums and a Mexican trumpeter,
urging legalization for undocumented immigrants and more visas for workers and relatives of Americans.
http://www.latimes.com/business/careers/work/la-me-guestworker20feb20,1,5067323.story?coll=la-headlines-business-careers