Federal immigration agents attempted to enter a New York City elementary school to make contact with a fourth grader last week, but found themselves rejected.
According to the New York Daily News, officers with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—a wing of the Department of Homeland Security—attempted to enter PS 58 in Queens to talk to an unnamed 4th grade student. However, the agents did not have a warrant for their search, and were turned away at the school’s door. The rejection is in line with a policy Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration put in place several months ago, which instructs public school employees to bar federal immigration officials from school grounds unless they have a warrant.
“This is our building. We control the building,” de Blasio explained when unveiling the new guidelines in March. “[ICE] can’t just blow by security. They have to follow our rules.”
Speaking with the Daily News, New York’s schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña reiterated that pledge.
“All students, regardless of immigration status, are welcome in NYC public schools, and parents should rest assured that we will do everything on our power to protect students, staff and families,” Fariña said.
“As a mother, I am deeply troubled and horrified at this attempt on the part of federal immigration agents to reach any child in our schools,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz told WPIX. “PS 58 officials did the right thing by following proper protocols of the city administration, stopping the agents at the door and protecting their students.”
According to mayor de Blasio’s press office, the mayor has been briefed on the situation, and has sent his immigration and education staff to the school to help calm the community.
It’s unclear why the agents were looking for the student, or why they did not have a warrant to enter the building. I have reached out to USCIS for details, and will update this post with their response.