Panama City Beach May Take Illegal Immigration Into its Own Hands

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

Andres Virguse sells snow cones outside the local Wal-Mart. The Columbian man comes to America legally every summer to find work, which is why he says his efforts are undermined when he sees illegal immigrants taking the easy route.

Andres Virguse said, "It's unfair for us that we have to do all the paperwork, do all of the things, pay a lot of money."

Virguse is not the only one who sees this unbalance, and local politicians fear the federal government is not going to take any action.

Lee Sullivan, Panama City Beach Mayor, said, "I don't think the federal government is going to do anything. I think the federal government has accepted the fact that it's a way of life, and they're trying to give everybody amnesty and let it work out."

It is why Thursday's beach city council meeting will open discussions to harsher penalties for those who hire illegal workers.

"I'd like to see if the city, at its municipal level, could participate in being part of the solution rather than just talking about the problem."

Citizens and councilmen will be able to discuss that and possible fines for businesses who break the rules.

Last year the city passed rules aimed at eliminating the problem of large groups of immigrants living in one home.

If you live in Panama City Beach, the city council would like to hear from you on this. The council meets at 6 p.m. Thursday.


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