Day laborers link sit-lie to Arizona crackdown

The SF Day Labor Program program last month targeted U-Haul, and now it's going after the sit-lie ordinance
Steven T. Jones

After another overwhelming vote against it last night, the sit-lie ordinance (banning sitting or lying on SF sidewalks) proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief George Gascon is probably toast. But just to make sure, the activists at Stand Against Sit Lie are holding another day of creative protests on sidewalks around the city this Saturday, 4/24.

Among the 13 events scheduled so far will be immigrant day laborers sitting along Cesar Chavez Street between Mission and San Van Ness streets to protest both sit-lie and another legislative attack on immigrants, the controversial Arizona measure that essentially bans undocumented immigrants and encourages police to arrest them using racial profiling techniques.

The SF Day Labor Program is organizing the protest and today sent out a statement linking the two measures, noting that the sit-lie ordinance criminalizing otherwise lawful behavior and targets marginalized populations. Last night at the DCCC meeting, Sup. David Campos also made the point that day laborers who stand on street corners all day seeking work sometimes need to rest.

"Day laborers in San Francisco have to sit down once in awhile when they're out on street corners waiting for work," Jose Ramirez, a day laborer and coordinator of the SF Day Labor Program, said in today’s statement.  "Taking us to jail for sitting down in San Francisco is the same as immigrants being targeted by police for simply being Latino."

After the Planning Commission early this month voted 6-1 to recommend against the sit-lie ordinance – finding that it violated a number of city goals and policies – the measure is awaiting consideration by the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee, possibly on May 3.