Container haulers serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could be under closer scrutiny as officials discuss the possibility of background checks and an ID system for workers at the ports.
The Los Angeles Times
reports that a task force on waterfront security has opened talks on the controversial issue. A big question in any ID system is whether to run background checks focusing on the immigration status and possible criminal records of truck drivers and other workers at the ports.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union opposes background checks for dockworkers members as violations of privacy. The owner-operator truckers who haul containers in and out of the port are not unionized. Many of them are undocumented immigrants, and Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has already singled them out, according to the paper. He said earlier this month he wants "to know who the drivers are, what they are bringing into the port and where it came from."
Warren Hoemann, vice president of the California Trucking Assn., told the Times
that any identification system will be ineffective unless the people who work the terminal gates are also checked.
The security of the LA ports and other such facilities around the country has become an issue since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Even before the attacks, a study last summer warned that Los Angeles Harbor was vulnerable to attack. The port is also a military mobilization facility, noted the report by the Port Police, which could make it an even more attractive target.