Prostestors Clash on Immigration Bill

Dwayne Robinson, Palm Beach Post, March 1, 2008

JUPITER—John and Wendy Donahue say they lost their jobs, they lost their home and now they’ve lost their patience with what they see as the main culprit—illegal immigration.

“It’s impossible to find a job,” said Wendy Donahue, mother of four, ages 14 to 21. “These illegals are undercutting wages.”

Formerly local home painters, the Donahues were two of about 100 protestors today outside Jupiter’s El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center, a day labor center that connects illegal immigrants with local employers.

“It’s the Taj Mahal in there,” Wendy Donahue, 36, said. “They get served coffee, donuts—a waiting lounge.”

El Sol members and representatives held a counter demonstration, a prayer vigil that was, at times, drowned out by the honking car horns or jeers from its sign- and flag-waving opponents at Indiantown Road and Military Trail.

The federal illegal immigration debate is playing itself out on Palm Beach County streets. And this work center has become both the focus of a town council campaign and now a Congressional primary election.

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That problem was the hordes of undocumented workers who formerly clogged busy intersections and residential neighborhoods, grappling for a spot in the back of a pickup truck and a hard days work.

Now, State Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, wants to shut El Sol down.

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Harrell’s Florida Safe Borders Act, or House Bill 821, would bar any county or municipality from creating, operating, funding or even assisting with any day-labor center aiding illegal immigrants.

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“We should not use those scarce resources, these taxpayer dollars, to help illegals get jobs,” Harrell said.

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