On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that city school employees have been instructed to turn away Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency officials attempting to enter school buildings unless they presented a valid, judge-ordered warrant.
"We want to be very clear to parents that we’re not allowing ICE agents in the building, because I think parents are so afraid right now. They’re worried that an agent could literally come into the building and single out their child,” de Blasio said during a press conference held at the city's education headquarters. “I know it sounds outlandish, but we’re seeing things that we have not seen before and there’s a tremendous amount of fear out there…We have to be ready for anything"
The New York Daily News notes that, thus far, there have not been any instances of ICE agents attempting to enter the city's schools.
Moving forward, ICE agents who wish to enter a New York City public school must both provide a warrant, and wait outside until school officials can coordinate with the city's Department of Education lawyers.
"This is our building. We control the building,” de Blasio said during his press conference. “[ICE] can’t just blow by security. They have to follow our rules.”
According to the Mayor's office, New York's DOE "does not track the immigration status of students and will not release any student information unless required by law."
"We support restricting ICE’s access to schools, students and student records—because classrooms should be safe spaces to learn in," NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a press release. "In light of new immigration policies and increased enforcement, we will do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers and their children"
In January, Speaker Mark-Viverito blasted the Trump administration's ongoing crackdown on immigrant communities, singling out the White House's efforts to penalize so-called "sanctuary cities" which limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
De Blasio's announcement came as part of Tuesday's Cities' Day of Immigration Action, a country-wide effort to highlight immigrants rights issues in cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, and Madison. Earlier this year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.