SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the wake of nearly 30 immigrants being arrested by federal agents in the city in less than two months, Alexandra Desachy asked a crowded lecture hall, “Why now — and why Saratoga?”
“It seems like ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] decided to come to Saratoga and raid mostly high-end restaurants,” the 45-year-old Spa City woman said. “It looks to me like a statement toward all other business owners — possibly in the country, who knows?”
Desachy, who came to the United States from Mexico two decades ago, was the first of many residents to ask a question Monday at Skidmore College during a town hall on the economic, social and cultural impacts of immigration. The two-hour event was hosted by the city’s Human Rights Task Force, appointed by Mayor Joanne Yepsen in May, and the college’s Latin American Studies and World Languages and Literatures departments.
Patrick Pipino, owner of Ben & Jerry’s on Phila Street and one of the night’s panelists, agreed that the federal government was making a statement with the recent actions locally.
“Because we’re in the news a lot, and because were a thriving community and an inclusive community, yes — I think it sends a statement,” he said. “I think it sends a message that there’s a new sheriff in town.”
But he also pointed to the city’s large number of restaurants per capita, employing the expression “low-hanging fruit.” He noted an immigrant population that “drives the food and beverage industry in this town.”
“It’s easy,” he said. “We don’t have a huge geographic tract,…
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