Posted on July 7, 2005

Mexico Backing Day Laborers

Bart Jones, Newsday (New York City), July 6, 2005

The Mexican government entered the fray in Farmingville on Tuesday, with that nation’s consul general in Manhattan denouncing the evictions of dozens of day laborers in the community, including some who were left homeless.

Arturo Sarukhan, who as consul general oversees the Mexican population in the tristate area and is one of the highest-ranking Mexican officials in the United States, criticized Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for actions that he said had increased tensions in the community.

Sarukhan said he was not questioning Levy’s right to enforce safety and fire codes. But he said that evictions that left some Latino workers homeless in Farmingville weren’t the solution.

“The recipe is not vilifying the Mexicans,” said Sarukhan, who sent two aides to Farmingville on Tuesday on a fact-finding mission and plans to visit himself later this week. “The bad guys are not the day laborers. They are the unscrupulous landlords.”

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According to Brookhaven officials, as many as 104 men lived in three houses that have been shut down in Farmingville in the past two weeks, either by direct order of the town enforcing fire and safety codes or by landlords who received temporary restraining orders to evict the tenants.

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