Two federal immigration officers asking about a student at a New York City elementary school were reportedly turned away at the door under the mayor’s new directive blocking law enforcement from entering schools without a warrant.
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said Monday that two agents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were turned away last week from P.S. 58 in Queens after inquiring about a fourth-grader enrolled there, a local NBC affiliate reported.
Ms. Farina assured parents that the agents were never allowed beyond the front door and that a letter would soon be sent to school administrators reiterating proper protocol in those situations.
“In our schools we protect our students and our families and want to reassure parents that no information is ever given to any federal agent,” the chancellor said.
A USCIS spokeswoman confirmed that two agents went to the school “as part of an administrative inquiry pertaining to an immigration benefit request,” NBC reported.
“Although school visits are not routine in these circumstances, they are not unprecedented,” spokeswoman Anita Rios Moore said. “I must emphasize that the purpose of the visit was to verify certain facts about the student’s enrollment in relation to a request for an immigration benefit. At no time did the officers ask to see or speak with the student, who was not the subject of the administrative inquiry.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesman Eric Phillips wrote on Twitter Saturday that the mayor had been briefed on the incident.
Mayor’s been briefed on a fed immig agent showing up at Queens’ PS58 Thurs. asking about a 4th grader. School turned him away. A 4th grader.— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) May 13, 2017
On Monday morning, Mr. Phillips said the mayor’s immigration affairs and education chiefs were at P.S. 58 reassuring students and parents that federal immigration agents “aren’t welcome in NYC schools.”
Guidelines issued in March instructed school administrators and security officers to block federal immigration agents from entering school property without a court order. The effort was a direct response to the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
“Our protocol now is to make sure when anyone comes into the building, to show information, he waits outside the school building, then that school notifies the lawyers at DOE, we notify immigrant services, and its handled on that level,” Ms. Farina said Monday, a local ABC affiliate reported. “This was probably our first test case, and I think we run through it pretty well.”
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