Locals are glad for the arrest of 14 illegals

By: Amber Southard Email
By: Amber Southard Email

Panama City - Tuesday's arrest of 14 illegal immigrants, who were working construction jobs at a controversial low income housing project have some people upset.

It seems a number of locals applied for those jobs, but were turned down. A traffic stop Tuesday afternoon led to the arrest of the 14 illegal aliens.

A Bay County Sheriff's deputy noticed a truck leaving this construction site, driving erratically. The traffic stop revealed the man was driving on a suspended license.

Authorities say he admitted he was in the U.S. illegally and had two lease agreements for a couple of apartments nearby.

When the Bay County ICE team showed up at the town homes, they say five of the illegal’s tried to escape through the window.

"During this time the others were being interviewed and they all admitted freely and voluntarily that they were illegal aliens also during the investigation we were able to determine that five of them used stolen social security numbers and they were charged with criminal use of personal identification," said Sheriff Frank McKeithen.

Authorities say they arrested 14 of the 16 people living in the units. Six are facing criminal charges, but the fact these illegal immigrants were working on the Panama Commons project has some people upset.

Jerry Warren use to serve our country as a marine. He said when he came home from war and tried to find a job it was hard because most of the jobs he went to had hired illegals instead.

"My main concern is the fact you have a lot of illegals out here and us Americans don't have a job and you ride by job sites and you see a lot of illegals out here it just isn’t right," said Warren.

McKeithen says some locals had contacted the sheriff’s office about the job site because they were being turned away.

Harden Contracting supposed has a strong policy for checking out all employees, but Harden says a sub-contractor called "Spurs" out of Atlanta Georgia hired the illegals.

"Someone needs to take responsibility here that’s in charge of these major jobs like this I just think that there are some steps that need to be taken here to make sure that we hire locals," said McKeithen.

The illegal have been turned over the ICE officials for deportation. Our attempts to reach Harden Contacting were not successful.

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