Critics Question Funding of Day-Labor Site

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Some residents are at odds with Houston officials over the use of federal funds to operate a day-labor site.

The critics argue that illegal immigrants could use the site to find work and so the city is encouraging illegal immigration.

But Mayor Bill White says its not illegal to use federal grant money to fund the center, which provides a gathering place for workers to wait for jobs

Members of the City Council yesterday delayed approving a 100-thousand-dollar contract extension with a nonprofit group to manage the day-labor center.

The city has used the federal grant money to fund day-labor sites since 1994 with little opposition. A spokeswoman for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development says it's an appropriate use of the money.

Critics argue the city or the site organizers should be required to ensure that workers are legal residents, but city officials say that's up to employers.

White says he believes there are enough votes on the council to approve the funding when it comes up again next week.