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New York Town Sues to Block Migrant Kids from Living in Childcare Center

Source: Fox5 / UNHCR

A wealthy New York town is currently embroiled in a legal dispute to prevent unaccompanied migrant children from getting enrolled in a suburban childcare center.

Executives in Mount Pleasant, Westchester, are in the middle of a court battle to determine whether the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) should be allowed to house asylum-seeking minors at the Pleasantville Cottage School.

JCCA Sues Town Over Migrant Children Housing

The JCCA was the first to press charges against the town after an emergency order was announced by its officials to keep migrants out of the town – the childcare group accused the move of stopping them from fulfilling their mission of taking in children in need.

Source: X/AntiWuCoalition

The town’s orders are unconstitutional on their face and as applied,” the JCCA lawsuit said. “By reason of the foregoing, [the town] — and those they serve, the children — have suffered traceable harm as a direct result of the town’s orders.”

Town Responds With Lawsuit Of Its Own

The town responded with a lawsuit of its own against the JCCA on April 12 seeking an injunction to restrain migrant children from being housed in the facility because of zoning issues.

Source: X/MPASDVikings

The JCCA has an agreement with the US Office of Refugee Resettlement to accept the children into the Mount Pleasant school, which usually serves as a local residential treatment center for children dealing with behavioral disorders.

Town Lawsuit Challenges Migrant Shelter Proposal Over Zoning Code

But the town is making efforts to block the deal stating in their lawsuit that setting up a migrant shelter at the school would go against the municipality’s zoning code. 

Source: X/CrimeInNYC

Town Attorney Darius Chafizadeh told The Examiner: ‘It’s definitely a zoning issue. They can’t have a shelter on that campus. It’s not allowed under the zoning code.’

Town Officials Seek School Closure Due To Crime Concerns

Town officials, led by Supervisor Republican Carl Fulgenzi, have been pushing to close the school, for some time over claims that its residents have been causing problems in the town.

Source: X/westchestergov

The Examiner reported that in the first half of 2023 alone, there were over 450 police calls to the site, including several violent incidents.

JCCA Capacity And Opposition Concerns

Now their argument is that the JCCA does not have the capacity and resources to manage the young people who live onsite and accommodating more children on campus would only increase the likelihood of more problems. 

Source: X/CrimeInNYC

Fulgenzi has never hidden his dislike for migrants, issuing multiple emergency orders to stop them from residing in the town. He said that the rulings were a necessity to avoid a ‘flood’ of incomers trooping in from nearby New York City. 

Order Bans Migrant Accommodation Without Permission

In an October order, he wrote: ‘The Town has no ability to receive and sustain an influx of migrant persons and asylum seekers.’

Source: X/XtraInnovator

The orders place a ban on ‘persons, businesses, entities or municipalities’ making agreements to ferry migrants to or accommodate migrants in the town without the ‘express written permission of the Town Supervisor’. 

Accusations Of Fabricating Emergencies And Racism

The JCCA accused Fulgenzi of making up a fake emergency and accused him of being racist for stopping the migrants. 

Source: X/CrimeInNYC

The organization made mention of a post on his Facebook where he shared a picture with a caption that read ‘European Christians built this nation… they didn’t come to b**ch, collect welfare, wage jihad, and replace the American Constitution with Sharia law.’

Pioneering Excellence: A Century Of Innovation At Pleasantville Cottage School

Pleasantville Cottage School which is located on JCCA’s Westchester Campus is one of the oldest and most reputable residential treatment centers in the U.S. It is the first of its kind—a cottage-style center— in the country and it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012.

Source: X/JCCANY

Pleasantville has a distinguished history as the home of the inaugural psychiatric clinic to be situated within an American childcare institution, a legacy of pioneering excellence that has been a hallmark of the agency ever since.

A Home To Troubled Kids

Pleasantville Cottage School provides shelter for emotionally troubled boys and girls between the ages of 7 to 16 at the time of admission. The kids admitted by the school are faced with educational, behavioral, or emotional challenges. 

Source: X/JLMcKenna13

Its philosophy according to its website “is that the child is part of a family that must be engaged and helped so that the child can safely return home permanently.”

Fostering Strengths And Empowering Futures

It also mentions that the institution “believes that most of the children in our care have strengths we can build on to resolve the problems that made it necessary for them to come into care.”

Source: X/HNHCampaign

The school also provides “ structured school days, job skills workshops, internships, a youth advisory council, and community employment opportunities” in a bid to prepare the students to lead independent and productive lives.

Thoughts On Mount Pleasant’s Immigration And Zoning Dispute

As the legal battle rages on between Mount Pleasant town officials and the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA), the heart of the matter remains deeply intertwined with broader issues of immigration, zoning regulations, and social responsibility.

Source: X/AOL

At the core of the conflict lies a fundamental question: should a wealthy town in the suburbs of New York, have any right to deny a childcare center the liberty of providing shelter to unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum? 

Navigating Local Immigration Policy

Beyond the court cases and lawsuits, the case places the spotlight on the knottiness of immigration policy at the local level. It’s easy to fault Mount Pleasant’s stance but it shows a broader trend of communities grappling with the influx of migrants and asylum seekers.

Source: X/nypost

The case places questions marks on the role of municipalities in shaping immigration policy and the limits of local autonomy in the face of federal mandates. Though zoning rules can be used as an excuse to oppose, they also show the clash between helping people and following rules.

Legal Battle’s Global Impact Unveiled

Ultimately, the outcome of the legal battle will have far-reaching implications, not only for Mount Pleasant and the JCCA but also for the broader discourse on immigration and social justice.

Source: X/Kelly118520

As the dispute proceeds, it serves as a reminder of the moral and ethical responsibilities that accompany the privilege of wealth and privilege in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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