Families in an NYC school district are on edge after two immigration officers stopped by the local elementary school.
The school, P.S. 58 in Queens, was paid a surprise visit by the federal immigration officers looking for a fourth-grade student on Thursday.
School officials refused to allow the officers into the building, as the officers didn’t have a warrant. Also, according to New York state law, all students from ages 5-21 are entitled to a free public education, regardless of immigration status.
Nevertheless, the community was distressed by the incident.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz echoed the fear many felt, 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.”
She also praised the school, adding, “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.”
The protocol of turning away immigration officers without a warrant took effect just two months ago.
Mayor de Blasio instated the policy to ease the minds of parents worried about the Trump administration’s stance on illegal immigrants, even though there had been no documented cases of agents plucking children out of schools at the time.
NYC Public Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and NYC Immigrants Commissioner Nisha Agarwal were on hand at the school Monday morning to assure nervous parents that their children were welcome and protected in NYC schools.
In a statement, Fariña said a letter would be sent out this week instructing everyone “from the school custodian to the highest level of school administration” on how to handle the situation if it arises in the future.