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Affluent New York town in legal battle to stop migrant children being sent to childcare center


A town north of New York City is battling to keep unaccompanied migrant children out of a childcare center, filing a countersuit when challenged by a children’s welfare nonprofit.

A Westchester Supreme Court judge granted an injunction to the town of Mount Pleasant, in Westchester County, after it sought to keep the JCCA, previously known as the Jewish Child Care Association, from accepting migrant children at its Pleasantville location.

The organization, which has a contract with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, sued after officials in Mount Pleasant declared an emergency order to prevent housing and caring for the migrant children at the Pleasantville Cottage School. The lawsuit claimed the children “have suffered traceable harm as a direct result of the town’s orders,” according to the Daily Mail.

But days after filing the lawsuit, the JCCA was countersued by the town as it sought an injunction to keep the children out of the campus, with town officials like Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi contending that housing them would violate zoning orders.

“As we disclosed last year, JCCA is attempting to house migrant children. We have contended time and time again that their facility is unsafe for the population they serve, let alone anymore residents. Their staff is regularly put in danger and our emergency services are constantly being pulled to the campus for unruly behavior. How can we trust they would properly care for these additional children,” the Republican official said, according to Yonkers Times.

According to data from 2023, homes in the suburban town with a population just over 45,000 have a median value of over $700,000 and the average household income is reportedly about $211,000.

The issues between the facility and the town officials go back before the latest lawsuits.

“Last spring after learning that migrant children and possibly families were headed to the Cottage School, I declared a state of emergency in the town. I received criticism for ‘overreacting’ with JCCA officials denying they would be a destination. The facts now speak for themselves,” Fulgenzi said in a statement in October.

JCCA countered by saying it had “submitted multiple and frequent requests to meet with town leadership” with nothing settled until an October plan for a meeting.

“The duplicity of the JCCA is astounding,” Fulgenzi had said in his statement. “The Town Building Department has recently issued multiple stop-work orders after inspectors found major renovation work underway on residential cottages at the property without permits for plumbing, electrical and other work. But it did not stop there. They also told us that a boring machine was being brought to the site. This, too, would require a permit. To date, none has been filed.”




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