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Corona Street Vendors Hit With Summonses During Pandemic, Sparks Outrage from Activists

NYPD officers issued summons to three street vendors on Monday (Street Vendor Project)

May 20, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Three immigrant street vendors were issued summonses by the NYPD for selling tamales and flowers on Monday — sparking outrage from activists and elected officials over the enforcement during a pandemic that has burdened the immigrant community.

The vendors were ticketed for selling tamales and flowers inside Corona Plaza without vendor licenses.

New York City has not made new general vendor licenses available since 1979, according to the Street Vendor Project.

The organization blasted Monday’s summons as a “disgrace” and is calling on the mayor and NYPD to immediately suspend enforcement of street vendors during the coronavirus health crisis.

“Street vendors are parents, caretakers, and community leaders who have been disproportionately impacted by both the health and economic crises throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mohamed Attia, Executive Director of the Street Vendor Project.

“New York should be leading the way in demonstrating how a sanctuary city protects its immigrant residents and businesses during a crisis, not ticketing and levying fines on the most marginalized,” Attia said.

One undocumented vendor selling flowers at Corona Plaza said they must work to feed their family.

“None of us have received any [government] aid,” the vendor said. “I have to work – how am I going to tell my son there’s no food for him tonight?”

Many undocumented immigrant vendors must continue to work during the pandemic because they do not qualify for federal aid such as the CARES Act stimulus checks.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has partnered with the organization Open Society Foundations to provide $20 million in one time relief payments to 20,000 undocumented immigrants, critics say it falls critically short.

The payments would reach less than 5 percent of city’s estimated 477,000 undocumented immigrants.

The one-time payments are also significantly less than the $1,200 plus checks most U.S. citizens and green card holders received. Single adults get $400, couples or a single parent get $800 and a family with multiple adults and children get $1,000 under the city’s initiative.

Several city and state officials have called on the mayor to suspend enforcement of vendor regulations during the pandemic, unless a vendor constitutes a significant risk to public health.

The summons and fines add extra burdens to struggling immigrants, they say.

Local elected officials decried Monday’s summons.

“Criminalizing defenseless immigrants for selling tamales and flowers when there is actual crime at bay is not right,” State Sen. Jessica Ramos said in a statement. “Our street vendors have no financial means to support themselves in this crisis and they did not pose any threat to our community.”

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz said her office has mediated similar concerns between the local precinct and streets vendors in the past and is working with all parties to understand what led to the latest incident on Monday.

“Our street vendors are woven into the fiber of our community,” Cruz said. “Because of status and the nature of their work, many, if not most have been left out of the bail outs and other financial support during this pandemic.”

“If these folks are not allowed to work, they cannot eat, they cannot pay rent, simply, they cannot survive,” she added.

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29 Comments

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Concerned citizen

Progressive liberal propaganda reaching a new low. Cannot believe some of the comments here. While legitimate restaurants stay close due to city wide lockdown some people throw support for this illegal vendor. The restaurants provide safe food, employment to a number of people while paying taxes which support their liberal progressive programs and even they cannot reopen because of the city wide lockdown. While this vendor breaks more than one law, pays no taxes and puts community in health risk and they support this illegal vendor?Where is the common sense here? The laws should be enforced even more so during the times like these.

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😆

No one cares about the violent criminals, it’s the person selling flowers and tamales that’s the real threat. The people commenting and that female cop are clowns

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Kaboom

I hope you did report those violent crimes to the police. Otherwise it’s just a fake outrage on your part.

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The Twilight Zone 🤖👿🕵

so people prefer to see panhandling and people begging for money rather than see a person work, that’s not harassing anyone ?

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Yeah

Right on. People have the most backwards mentality here in Jackson Heights, and they wanna put it like it’s the center of Queens. No it’s not the center of Queens, and it cannot be the center of Queens. It’s just a political trampoline where a lot of the old people literally love to complain about a candy wrapper on the sidewalk at 7AM. Politicians claim they do much, taking every opportunity they can for a photo op, but at the end their “efforts” don’t amount to anything. And they still get a street sign as trophy, but that’s ok – at the end, they won’t be remembered by the little 10 year old child if they didn’t deserve it. It’ll be a street sign rusting away. Lol it’s a disgrace.

Yours is among the top comments I’ve seen till now. This is the problem – people take sides with conservative and liberal, and somewhere along the way people forgot that we’re all human beings, and we’re all gonna have the same size hole dug out for us at the graveyard. People love to hate, and the Creator sees that. Some of the arguments here are valid, but a good chunk of them are not. If the City took the time to have helped out these people and listened to suggestions from a long time ago, before this thing even started, we wouldn’t be having this problem right now with the unlicensed vendors. But of course, somebody’s got to be the scapegoat, right?

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Herald T

People worry about the lady selling flowers and tamales, but are ok with the drug dealers and gang members. There’s a lot of backwards people commenting and living in Jackson Heights & Corona.

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Let me know

Why not allow everyone to sell drugs since we all need some money during this pandemic? Why allow one law to be broken and not the other? Who decides which law can and cannot be broken?

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Let ya know then

To let you know why? How you compare one thing to another? Some of you people need to stop commenting nonsense.

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ADRIANA

Sanctuary do not means illegality, today with this crisis everyone is struggling selling food without licenses or paying taxes making more money than restaurants and stores fronts that has to comply with everything? Pls they are lucky they get a summons. If restaurant have inspections and grades are to protect the public. They should start ticket more. Many of this people already have a mafia with unclean homes making food. Having 10 and 20 workers on the streets. We don’t need to support informality. They should be clad they get a ticket and can be fight at court or paying a 150 penalty much less than a store rent or electric bill or license

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James

Waaahh to bad, first off they are ILLEGAL immigrants, undocumented is the bullish!t “PC” way of saying ILLEGAL. They shouldn’t be here to begin with so no sympathy here. Also they don’t have a vendor license so damn right they should get a summons. Legit business owners can’t open up but these ILLEGALS should be allowed to do what they want, HELL NO!! A crisis does not mean people get to disregard the law and do whatever the hell they want to do. Screw them, Good job by the NYPD.

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Jamie Please

So which businesses can’t open up that are competition (don’t bring up nail salons or barber shops)? And wash your mouth before you talk about the immigrant community – you’d rather see them starve not making a dime than seeing them selling food like decent human beings.

I don’t see you helping out these local business owners, Next time you wanna talk, write something that makes sense.

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REally?

@James it’s the conservative LEGAL U.S. citizen AND the SJW liberal who makes the whole ramble about the word “illegal”. You’d be surprised, to know that among the immigrant community, they have no problem using the word “illegal”.

And you talking about about “Legit business owners can’t open up” – which ones? Since when do barbershops and nail salons compete with street vendors? Because I don’t see any restaurants being forced to stay closed.

Now about them being unlicensed? Who’s fault is that, when the city’s the one capping the permits? They’re probably not willing on waiting 20 years for a permit, they’ve gotta eat NOW. And why would they pay a supposed $20,000-$40,000 for a $200 permit. You act in your little bubble like you’re living in some kind of utopia. Stop hatin and go put up your own tamales stand. You mad because they get money and work much harder than you ever will, probably stinking away in your room living off your little benefits.

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Herald T

I wonder if that female cop in that video really thinks she made a difference by giving summons out to people selling flowers and tamales,

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Top Hat.

The funny part is on that same spot you have people selling drugs , fake id and a lot of other illegal activities, but that female police officer chose those street vendors selling flowers over the guy selling drugs. That Cop should get retrained or recycled to something else.

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Let me know

And no one gets arrested for selling drugs? Why do we have full jails then? False outrage much?

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The Macho Man

That lady cop in the video was just showing off in front of her partner, all a show

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Sticks

I hope that female police officer acts just as tough towards those gang members in that same area as she did to that lady.

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FU

So why do we need to use our tax dollars to pay for illegals that break the law AGAIN selling food in the street and getting ticketed. Why are we supposed to promote illegal activity just because they’re poor and shouldn’t be here in the first place? I hope they get fined to oblivion.

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JH resident

I agree that unlicensed vendors without running water should not sell food in the street during a pandemic. People on the left (I’m one of them) tell the right-wingers to believe science when it comes to climate change. Well, we need to believe science when it comes to matters of public health. The fact of the matter is that, even under normal circumstances, unlicensed food vendor practices are dangerous. During COVID19, they are even more so. Restaurants would be shut down and fined into oblivion if they engaged in such practices…worse than any penalty these vendors face. Why do some people assume that restaurant owners are rich? Before the epidemic most were operating on thin margins…and now, they are in dire straights. Many will never come back. I hope our future dining options aren’t limited to Wendys, McDonald’s and Roosevelt Avenue tacos that come with a 50% chance of landing you in the Elmhurst Hospital emergency room.

Flower and non-food vendors are another matter. Agreed that they really aren’t harming anyone.

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🚨🚔🚨

Unfortunately some of these police officers ( not all ) prefer to go after these less dangerous, non-violent, ” weak ” people .
110pct & 115pct should go after these muggers, gang members, drunks that urinate in public, the vandals that write graffiti on the walls . There’s plenty of this going on in Corona and Jackson Heights. If the local police doesn’t see it then there’s a very BIG problem.

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Colin

It’s hypocritical of these liberals to tell us all to stay at home and stop the virus but defend illegals who may or may not have the virus to sell there uncertified food on dirty infected streets, from rat crawling carts. The insanity of it all.

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Kim

it’s a shame that people that are working is being harassed and the vandals and pot smokers, gang members are left alone to continue doing their nonsense. The police should be more proactive, and go after the real criminals that are a danger to the community.

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Food for thought

Meanwhile there’s gang activity in that same neighborhood, you could see the graffiti, you hear about the assaults, robberies going on . NYPD needs to focus on that , it’s in plain sight.

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Josh

NYPD should give summons or fines to those asking for money on the trains , or begging for money on the streets, these people are working , they are not harassing anyone.

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Enoughwithidiotpoliticians

So let me get this straight. These UNDOCUMENTED workers don’t have a license to operate, who knows where they made their food,who know’s if they may have the virus and they should be allowed to work and not get fines ?! Meanwhile people who have legit businesses with license are not allowed to open such as a gym and they send the police to close them down and issue fines on them! Even in some cases jail time!
Those people need to feed their families too. They don’t want to lose their businesses. And they don’t want to live off the government. These politicians are what is killing this country.

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Rican on the 80

These people are street vendors , they work outside. You’re talking about indoor business ( like you said a gym ) clearly there’s a difference between both.

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