Hamptons' Homeless Camp Causing a Stir

Homeless day laborers have made a hidden encampment in the woods near multi-million-dollar houses in New York's exclusive Hamptons.

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said the laborers can't find work. In better times, they could afford rent.

When the Hampton's booming real-estate market bottomed out, so did demand for laborers.

"There is no work, no money," Mexican immigrant Manuel Hernandez told The New York Post.. "When I went across the border, I know it was wrong. But I don't fight, I don't steal. I only came here to work."

Hernandez and his fellow campers endured a harsh winter in one of the 20 camps hidden in the woods. Hernandez said they fear shelters because of their immigration status.

The squalor lies on church-owned land, just beyond sprawling summer homes with swimming pools.

"That's just shocking," a Manhattan-based owner of one the homes told The Post. "I had no idea."

Meanwhile, Epley said he's received death threats over the issue. He said there are complaints about property values, and crowds of laborers hurting business.

Southampton Police Chief William Wilson said officers check on the area periodically. Several arrests have been made.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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