A U.S. immigration agent was turned away from an elementary school in Maspeth, Queens, where he was reportedly looking for a fourth-grader.
Eric Phillips, press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeted about the incident, saying the agent did not have a warrant:
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
De Blasio announced a new policy in March to prevent such a thing from happening. He issued a directive to the NYPD to not allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents onto school grounds unless they had a valid warrant.
The borough president of Queens, Melinda Katz, weighed in on the situation via Facebook saying: “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. P.S. 58 officials did the right thing by following proper protocols of the city administration, stopping the agents at the door and protecting their students.”
As a mother, I am deeply troubled and horrified at this attempt on the part of federal immigration agents to reach any…
NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña echoed those sentiments in a statement saying that all students, regardless of their immigration status, are welcome in the New York City public school system. State law mandates that all children ages 5-21 are entitled to a free public education.
The city’s immigration affairs commissioner is investigating the incident and told CBS2 they were trying to find out who the agent was, if he was impersonating an officer, or was from a different government agency.
The episode is a sample of the larger story playing out nationally as the Trump administration steps up deportation efforts, particularly when it comes to criminal who are undocumented.
Earlier this week ICE announced it had made 280 immigration related arrests in raids conducted across the country targeting gangs like the Bloods, Sureños, MS-13 and the Crips. In total the agency made 1,300 arrests, sweeping up citizens, foreign nationals, and undocumented residents alike.
The school, P.S. 58, has not issued any statements regarding the incident.
A central platform of President Trump’s campaign was immigration reform and promising to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He has also alleged, with no evidence, that illegal immigrants, millions of them, voted in the election.
Trump signed an executive order this week to create a presidential advisory council on election integrity.
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