Saratoga Springs mayor says police will not initiate, participate in deportation efforts

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There have been at least 27 illegal immigrants arrests in Saratoga since May.

A town hall meeting held Monday night addressed how ICE arrests will affect the city and track season.

ICE arrests in Saratoga Springs are affecting both the restaurant industry and the track this year.

The audience applauded when Mayor Joanne Yepsen said the police force in Saratoga Springs will do nothing to initiate or participate in deportation efforts.

“Everyone is extremely supportive and extremely concerned about this issue,” Mayor Yepsen said.

After dozens of arrests by the immigration and customs agency, this summer some fear that ICE raids will affect track season since some backstretch workers are illegal.

“I would say 75 to 90 percent of the backstretch workers are illegal,” Eric Guillot, a horse trainer, said. “You gotta realize how many of them are scared and say I’m not going. They’re gonna be short handed and you know who suffers is the horses.”

One trainer says he will not come to Saratoga this year because the backstretch workers are like his family. He fears that new York has become too aggressive with deportation efforts.

“The reason I’m not coming this summer is that I’ve got guys that been with me illegally for the past 15 years,” Guillot said. “Everybody is scared to death and I’m not gonna put them in that position.”

Mayor Yepsen said in Saratoga, community members care about one another. She explained the raids are not only a humanitarian affront but also a blow to the economy.

“There are certain jobs like mucking stalls and washing dishes. You know for some reason, they’re just not able to fill those jobs so it was a win win in my opinion to have those immigrants,” Mayor Yepsen said.

The mayor also said that federal laws are “making this tiny city suffer.”

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