I would like to comment on the recent controversy surrounding the possible establishment of a detention center for unaccompanied Central American children in Bethpage.
When the federal government indicated some of these children might be housed in the old Grumman facility, U.S. representatives Steve Israel and Peter King and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano were quick to dissuade federal officials from doing so, claiming that conditions would be overcrowded and the children would be at risk of exposure to toxins from a nearby Superfund site.
Within 24 hours, federal officials had backed off, and a robocall went out to voters touting the successful efforts of Israel, King and Mangano.
While the issues of overcrowding and environmental safety were worth discussing, especially with the well being of children at stake, I find it disgusting that Israel, King and Mangano pretended it was concern for these vulnerable individuals that catalyzed such swift and passionate action.
A June 26 report by ABC 7, which included interviews with nearby residents of two senior living communities, made it clear that this was not a case of humanitarian concern, but rather a “not in my neighborhood” issue.
Some interviewed expressed concern for their physical safety if the children were placed at the site (as if the children would be allowed to roam the neighborhood while awaiting a hearing).
One resident even wondered if the children, who are essentially prisoners, would be sent to local schools, forcing an increase in school taxes.
While these specific concerns were obviously unfounded and not representative of all opponents of the detention center, I think they encapsulate the general attitude of Long Island voters.
Israel, King and Mangano are not saints fighting for the safety of displaced children fleeing violence; they just care about re-election.
New Hyde Park