Southampton Tackles Day Laborer Issues

Southampton Village has begun work preparing a park for use as a hiring site for day laborers.

The site is adjacent to the 7-Eleven store at the entrance to Southampton. Day laborers have been seeking work there for years. Last week 40 people protesting against un-documented workers chased the mostly Latino laborers away.

Village Mayor Mark Epley spoke to WPKN news on Saturday. Epley blames the Federal government for the problem. He says the Feds tell him they can't help. Epley said:

"This is the result of some failed federal policies on immigration. I have called the White House, I've talked to the President's Special Assistant on immigration. I met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and talked to the IRS.

They said to me their main priority is terrorists and that the individual standing on the corner looking to mow your grass is not a priority for them. Basically I'm finding that I'm all alone"
The Mayor's explained his plan.
"We have an empty piece of park land that is currently being hedged in. We're going to put a gravel parking lot on it so that people can pull on to it and hire individuals. This is going to be followed up with an ordanance for no solicitation in public parking areas and public rights of way to move people off the streets and onto that lot so they can be hired without any type of harassement."
Asked about the constitutionality of such a law the Mayor said "We'll find out in court if we have to".

On Friday 50 or more local residents led by clergy walked the streets of the village in a show of solidarity with immigrant workers. Sunday a large group from the Shinnecock Reservation stood at the park with signs against racism and calling for acceptance of the newest immigrants.


This report was prepared for WPKN local news (6:30pm M-F) and was broadcast Monday, April 2 on WPKN 89.5 Bridgeport and WPKM 88.7 Montauk.