The next time you need someone experienced in lawn care, landscaping, general labor, moving, construction cleaning, house cleaning, and many other jobs, whether for a few hours or a few days, come to EL SOL. You will be glad you did.
– Friends of El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center
That’s the pitch being used to bring illegal aliens together with prospective employers in Jupiter, Fla.
The El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center was the town’s solution for stopping ”migrant workers” from lining the streets each day to wait for employers to drive by and hire them.
Sometimes as many as 100 ”day laborers” gathered each morning. Neighborhood residents complained they blocked traffic, scared people and created a public nuisance.
So, backed by legal opinions that said the center did not violate any laws, the town of Jupiter bought a building next to town hall and the police station for $1.9 million and encouraged Catholic Charities, along with the migrant advocacy group Corn Maya and community volunteers, to lease it for $1 a year, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Since then, the center has registered more than 1,730 workers and 2,577 employers and claimed an average daily hiring rate of 25 percent, according to Catholic Charities.
El Sol Center
“The town is not trying to make a statement,” Mayor Karen Golonka told the Florida paper. “It is simply trying to find a way at our level to provide a local solution to our community.”
South Florida talk radio host and anti-illegal immigration activist Joyce Kaufman is an outspoken critic of the center and others like it.
“The rationale is that there’s something endearing and American about allowing these people to come to the U.S. That’s true. It’s called immigration and we have legal channels to do that. It doesn’t mean that everyone who crosses the border at night has the right to a job,” Kaufman told WND.
“We’ve got guys who take photos of contractors and homeowners who pick these people up. They’re breaking the law.”
The center’s website features testimonials from El Sol’s happy customers:
- Jeff A. (business owner): ”There’s nothing better as far as I’m concerned. I will continue to use them. They work hard and they do a good job and I wish more people would use them.”
- Mark S. (Hired workers for clearing debris, removing trees, etc.): ”They do an outstanding job. They work hard and if I need help again, I’ll definitely be there because there are no problems.”
- Anonymous: ”We the friends and workers of the El Sol Resource Center of Jupiter declare this occasion as an appreciation time to you Mayor and your supporters and staff for making the dream of El Sol a reality!”
- Doug (flooring company owner): ”I keep going back to El Sol because they’re good workers. Guatemalans are the best workers I’ve had work for me and I’ve worked all over the country.”
- Candy (electrical contractor): ”We enjoy using El Sol because it is so handy and the workers have done very well ? absolutely!”
According to the Sentinel, the center intentionally does not ask laborers for documentation regarding their immigration status. The center’s services are free and employers pay the workers directly.
But now, a little more than a year since the center first opened, the same street that once teemed with ”day laborers” is now occupied by protesters demanding the center be shut down.
Though the town’s attorneys and the center disagree, the protesters believe it is flouting the law, reports the Sentinel.
(Photo: South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
”The town of Jupiter is ignoring the laws to allow immigrants to do things at this center, and we wonder how can the city leaders expect us to follow the laws when they don’t?” John Ryznic told the Jupiter Courier. He said he was also concerned by the proposal for the United States, Mexico and Canada to create a North American Union.
”With this union, there would be one law, and the U.S. could lose her sovereignty, which would mean that the U. S. couldn’t stop illegals from coming into this country.”
”We need our borders sealed right now,” said Jim Schmoyer of Stuart. ”The lobbyists, the Catholic Church and the Chamber of Commerce don’t care about the American people, but the bottom line. If the borders were sealed, we could assimilate these people, but we can’t assimilate them if there are 50 million more who come in.”
Jupiter’s attorneys told the city if it closed down Center Street, the traditional location for workers to gather, without an alternate venue, it would open itself to a lawsuit for denying people their right to assemble, Mayor Golonka told the Sentinel.
“We do not have powers to round up and deport people,” she added. “That is something the federal government does.”
However, the activists involved in the protests see things differently.
“The town of Jupiter is a symbol of what is wrong in this country,” said Dave Caulkett, vice president of the grass-roots group Floridians for Immigration Enforcement. “Jupiter is blatantly complicit in felonious hiring transactions. In a democracy, you cannot have towns violating federal laws,” he told the paper.
The town and the center say the protesters are wrong.
“Nothing unlawful is occurring at the center,” said El Sol President Mike Richmond. “[It] serves as a safe, supervised location for workers to be matched with employers, and where free English, computer classes and job training are given to all residents.”
Elected officials in Jupiter, with a population of about 40,000, claim their project is a huge success and now the neighboring communities of West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and several others are considering creating similar centers.
“Here you have one of the hottest issues in the country right now, but day-by-day the pro-open borders people get these places up and running behind the taxpayers’ backs, and they’re now going to use El Sol as a model for the whole country,” radio host Kaufman told WND.
“They’ve figured out how to get the Hispanic community to petition the government and make these local municipalities do something for them that our government wouldn’t even consider doing for American teens. Would they build a similar center for teenagers to gather? The sons and daughters of taxpayers? Teens don’t have a place to hang out in Jupiter either!”
Kaufman, a Spanish speaker with Puerto Rican roots, hosts a talk program on Fort Lauderdale’s WFTL-AM (850). After experiencing a frustrating ”Press 1 for English” phone call, she began complaining on the air and the floodgates opened up.
Class at El Sol
”English is the glue that holds our melting pot together. If we don’t insist that it be the language of commerce, we are lost,” Kaufman told listeners at the time.
She gained national notoriety when she traveled to Washington, D.C., with other talk-show hosts from around the country for the recent “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” immigration rally. Kaufman said she would represent her listeners there by bringing their “soles” to the Capitol. In the 10 days before the rally, she collected more than 5,000 pairs of shoes at designated parking lots in South Florida and took them with her to D.C.
Some, including Kaufman, credit talk radio for the latest immigration bill’s June demise. As WorldNetDaily reported, the rally was also used as a forum to call for the release of imprisoned border agents Ramos and Compean and many of the hosts who led the charge against illegal immigration are self-described conservatives. Kaufman says she’s someone with far-left instincts who happens to find herself allied with conservatives on this issue.
“We pay for their health care, their educations, their crimes. You and I are funding everything,” she told WND.
Outside the El Sol center last Saturday, Robert McCormack of Jupiter was also angry.
“No more tax dollars,” he shouted at passing cars. “Throw out Mayor Golonka.”
McCormack, an electrician, told the paper that undocumented workers undercut construction jobs.
“You can’t allow people in office that aren’t going to protect us and spend $1.9 million of my tax money to bring in people that are going to take my jobs,” McCormack told the Sentinel.
Inside, Edmundo Castillo said he believed more people in Jupiter supported the laborers than didn’t.
“We did not come to America to be delinquents. We came here to work,” added Castillo, 27, a former schoolteacher who said he supports his father, his brothers and their six children in Guatemala with the construction job he found through El Sol. “We are humans and no matter what country we are from, we should help each other.”
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Felicia Dionisio is a former news editor of WorldNetDaily and a stay-at-home mom.