Immigration fight starts war of words on council
Heated debate targets funding of labor site used by those here illegally
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
The national debate over border security fueled a fight at City Hall on Wednesday when a council member seeking a Republican congressional nomination charged that city funding for a day-labor site encouraged illegal immigration.
Supporters of the funding accused Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs of flip-flopping on the issue to gain conservative voter support in her bid for the nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.
Sekula-Gibbs and a few other members delayed a vote on the $100,000, federally funded contract, which would allow Neighborhood Centers Inc. to continue running the Second Ward site where laborers wait for day jobs.
Sekula-Gibbs, who has voted to fund day-labor sites in the past, said the council should stop funding the center in light of growing concern over illegal immigration. She also suggested that the city may be acting illegally by supporting the site.