Tension for East Hampton as Immigrants Stream In

“People have a perception of the Hamptons,” Mr. Lynch continued. “They don’t have an image of illegal immigrants packed like sardines into houses.”

As cyclists ride by, Carlos Fernando Quintana, an immigrant from Guatemala, trims a hedge in East Hampton, N.Y.

The Long Island Rail Road station in the town of East Hampton is a manicured place; the little white station house flanked by tidy trees almost looks like a child’s toy that just came out of the box. It is a short drive from the beach and steps from lavish boutiques, stores like John Varvatos and Coach. On any summer day, caravans of luxury cars can be spotted out front.

But on any workday, residents say, it is dotted with another sight as well: men in sturdy boots and dusty jeans, laborers looking to be picked up for work.

When one thinks of the Hamptons, what jumps to mind are masters of the universe and their mansions by the sea. But a strong, steady stream of immigrants has been flowing to the area for years, drawn by a service economy that demands hedges be trimmed and houses be cleaned. In the Springs, a hamlet in the town of East Hampton, where most of the houses are small and the year-round population is relatively large, the Hispanic population has tripled in the past 10 years — and tension has emerged.

Some longtime residents of the Springs and similar areas complain that homes are being illegally crowded, that houses with half a dozen cars parked outside are a blight on the street, and that the many children living inside are overwhelming the local schools and causing property taxes to rise.


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