Will Suffolk County Lose Our ‘Sanctuary’ Status?

Sanctuary Home
Sanctuary Home? Photo: obencem/123RF

With the swearing in of the 45th President of the United States, who has committed and commenced to execute a plan to deport millions of undocumented people living within our borders, we may be losing a valuable East End asset-workers in the coming months.

There was a time leading up to the recent presidential election that many East End undocumented workers were not contemplating returning to their place of birth. That is because they were certain Hillary Clinton would win the White House and there would be a continuation of the relaxed immigration enforcement policies that occurred during the Obama Administration.

And everyone was aware that Suffolk County was already listed as a “sanctuary county.” Heck—there’s even a website dedicated to listing sanctuary cities and counties all over the country, and Suffolk County was listed on it as being such.

And let’s not forget the statements of New York City’s Mayor de Blasio, who acknowledged that he would not be cooperative in helping to identify these individuals.

Of course, for local undocumented workers, the fear factor began increasing when in December of 2016, after Trump won the election, Newsday reported “Sheriff Vincent DeMarco announced that his county will no longer demand a judge’s order before detaining an illegal immigrant wanted by federal agents for deportation, a major move to distance the county from its ranks of being a sanctuary city”.

In all fairness to Suffolk County’s Sheriff Demarco, who I don’t personally know, but have respect for, he pretty much has his hands tied. He doesn’t get to make the laws, only enforce them.

This reversal of position, coupled with the president’s aggressive agenda, could severely damage our local economy. Simply put: If our undocumented workers leave, whether it be out of fear or force, it could cast a shadow of blight hardship on our beautiful island paradise.

Many affluent homeowners and businesses on the East End desperately need this elemental workforce, both documented and undocumented. Do we really want overgrown yards, slime filled pools, unpainted houses, soiled laundry, dirty toilets with pooh rings, etc.? And who will cook the meals and put the children to bed while their parents are out at social events?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The implications are far more reaching.

My question is simple: Since Suffolk County is backpedaling, can local businesses and homeowners designate individual sanctuary status for their properties?

According to a recent Associated Press-released article by Sophia Tareen, some businesses are trying. She writes, “Roughly 80 restaurants are participating in locations including New York, Minneapolis, Detroit, Boston, Oakland California and Ann Arbor Michigan”.

She goes on to say that, “The restaurants agree to anti-discrimination policies, put up signs on windows that pronounce their sanctuary status and receive know your rights training, such as webinars on how to ask federal immigration agents for proper paperwork if there’s an attempted raid”.

There is one small flaw in this strategy: Restaurants and businesses are subject to workplace laws and regulations. So they can’t stop the process of arresting illegal aliens.

Also, Tareen doesn’t mention our homes.

Maybe if we post a big sign on our front door stating that the house is a “sanctuary home” any undocumented workers living inside would be protected? Though I’ve heard that they’re now being challenged, some churches have claimed to be sanctuaries for the cause.

My concern is purely selfish. We need all the workers we can find to support our lavish East End lifestyles. And this includes those who are undocumented. I rely on several workers just to keep myself ever-handsome and hygienically presentable.

I’m not sure how this is all going to play out. I only know that we may soon be seeing a mass exodus of East End workers, and that could be bad for business.

I am making my front-door SANCTUARY sign right now.

Read more blogs by Mr. Sneiv.

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