Pennsylvania residents packed a council meeting to protest the behavior of Romanian immigrants who they say are defecating in public and beheading chickens.
California Borough residents say the Romanian immigrants who have moved into town since May have been engaging in repulsive behavior, WTAE reported. The behavior has been so alarming that a petition protesting their lifestyle was signed by more than 600 residents.
"What I've seen is men and children -- never usually the women -- the men and the children dropping their pants in the middle of the street, defecating, pulling their pants up and going on their way," Dawne Roberts told WTAE.
The immigrants were sent to California Borough by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of a program called Alternative to Detention, according to borough administrator Dr. Richard Martin.
Martin said the local residents must be given orientation "about who these folks (the Romanian immigrants) are, why they're here. Basically, we need to come together as a community and work through the issues."
But many residents seem to think differently.
"We're a very diverse town, we're very open, but they aren't assimilating to our laws," Pam Duricic, 59, told the news station. “We are understanding that these are immigrants. But this is not the same scenario as our grandparents. They didn't come here to raise havoc.”
Almost all of the Romanian immigrants have rented apartments from local real estate agent Vito Dentino, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. They first started arriving in May.
“They call themselves gypsies," Dentino told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They throw trash in their yards, but I’ve talked to them about that, and they clean it up. I think people around here are just overreacting."
Council members, the borough administrator and police Chief Richard Encapera said they did not receive any warning that the immigrants were coming. They did admit, however, that there have been no instances of violence or aggression, and that the immigrants involved in minor offenses have been cited and paid their fines.
Ali George, 24, one of the Romanian immigrants, said he was drawn to California Borough because he found it to be a friendly, inexpensive place to live. He is a native of Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
"We left our country, not because we are poor," a friend of George, told the newspaper. "We left because of racism and we’re seeking political asylum."
Still, many residents remain indifferent.
"Charleroi didn't get them. Brownsville didn't get them. How did they come to be here?” asked Janet Bateman, who has lived in California Borough for more than 50 years. "This isn’t sunny California. This is California, Pa. We are a small town. How did the federal government come to know about us? There’s Pittsburgh, a big city. There’s Maryland, there’s Ohio, there’s West Virginia. Who threw a dart at a map and hit California, Pa.?"