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Palm Beach County businesses helping migrants who can legally work find jobs

Influx of migrants has been a win-win for small businesses, owner says
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-07 00:23:39-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As more migrants continue to arrive in the Sunshine State, many will first have to be processed before they can call South Florida home.

"What brought me here? Looking for a better future, a better life a better job, that's why I came here," Waleska Santiago said.

Santiago is from Puerto Rico and moved 14 years ago. Now, she owns Munchie Salon in West Palm Beach.

"It's really hard when you come here for the first time and you don't know anything," Santiago said. "You don't even speak the language, it's a challenge, it's not that easy."

She said she's dedicated her business to helping immigrants who can legally work.

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"She's Cuban, she's been with me, good person, hard worker, and I'm very happy to have her," Santiago said. "As long as they do everything legally and do everything like they're supposed to I'm here to help."

The passion to help is shared with her husband Eddie Rivera, who owns El Mata Munchies restaurant in West Palm Beach.

"They're looking for work, they'll knock on your door all day long trying to look for work, because that's what they're here for," Rivera said. "They're here to look for a different lifestyle, a better lifestyle and we're here to help them out."

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The pair said as long as a migrant is allowed to work legally, they could have a job at one of their businesses.

Rivera said the influx of migrants has been a win-win for small businesses, saying good help has been hard to come by.

"It's hard for us small guys, small businesses to hire good help and if we can get them from another country to come in and work, then we're willing to help," he said. "I'm sure there's a lot of organizations out there that are willing to do the same thing, because like I said, our
country was built on immigrants."

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Rivera said thanks to the help, he's planning on expanding his business, which of course will provide more job opportunities for the community.

"So far, it's been great. I've got a young lady now from Cuba," he said. "Legit, all her paperwork, all her documentation and she's one of our number one cooks here."

The duo said they encourage people to come by if they need a job as they have a wide connection of opportunities.