Posted on December 14, 2005

Workers Gather At New Herndon Day Labor Site (DC), Dec. 14, 2005

HERNDON, Va. — Dozens of day laborers gathered Wednesday morning at a new publicly funded site in Herndon with portable heaters and toilets on one of the coldest mornings of the year.

However, less than a dozen contractors showed to offer work, News4’s Michael Flynn reported.

A temporary trailer served as the office for what will be the controversial new job center site. The Herndon Town Council approved the plan in August.

Critics are keeping close watch — including a group called the Herndon Minutemen, who are photographing employers who pick up some laborers. They say the site promotes work for illegal immigrants.

Protesters also appeared at the site Wednesday.

“It’s taxpayer money used to fund an illegal activity,” one protester said.

Job center advocates said casual labor is legal and everyone deserves a presumption of innocence. Project Hope spokesman Joel Mills said the day labor site addresses a community safety issue. He said immigration is a national issue the federal government is working to address.

Contractors who showed at the site on Wednesday defended their actions.

“They need to eat, and I need some help,” Ken Buckland said. “So it works well for both of us.”