Posted on January 31, 2005

Foes of Day Laborer Center in Jupiter Protest

Pamela Perez, Palm Beach Post, Jan. 30

Jupiter, Fla. — Neighbors claiming their streets have become an employment zone for undocumented workers protested Saturday afternoon, wearing red shirts and holding up signs with slogans such as: “Illegal Labor is Racketeering.”

A group called Jupiter Neighbors Against Illegal Labor led the three-hour protest with about 50 members during the high-traffic hours at the intersection of Indiantown Road and Military Trail. The demonstration took place just outside the town’s annual Jupiter Jubilee festival.

For months, the group has attempted to call attention to the issue of undocumented workers with speakers at town council meetings and before local political organizations. The group claims unchecked illegal immigration is responsible for the town’s growing day laborer population.

“We have no clue who these people are,” said Britt Burton, an organizer. The Coast Guard veteran believes the presence of undocumented workers is a homeland security issue. “This country is not indestructible. People need to realize that 9/11 really happened. My motivation is to protect what my ancestors built.”

The protest is also the latest attempt to stifle plans for a proposed neighborhood resource center that would become the main job referral source for day laborers. The resource center has been proposed by the not-for-profit organization Corn Maya Inc., which now gives job referrals from its office on Dixie Highway.