A city spokesman in Maspeth, NY said an immigration agent was turned away at an elementary school after showing up at the school and inquiring about a 4th grader. This is the first incident of its kind since the city implemented a policy that allows people to turn away federal agents without warrants.
“We’re not allowing (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents into the building, because I think parents are so afraid right now, and are worried that an agent could literally come into a building and single out their child. We want them to know that can’t happen under this policy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in March.
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña recently said all students, regardless of immigration status, are welcome in their schools. Others in the area said they were glad the agents were turned away in this recent case, saying they don’t think it’s fair for children to be singled out.
“It kind of like leaves a bad effect on the kids’, I guess, experience at school, and I just think it’s really something that shouldn’t be happening, like, don’t talk to the kids,” said Rebecca, a resident who was interviewed by 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.
As for the reason the agents were actually visiting the school, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson said it had to do with the child’s family requesting benefits. She said the agents were simply trying to verify the students status as the school before being turned away.
“While I cannot discuss the details of the case, I can confirm that two USCIS officials visited an elementary school in Maspeth, Queens as part of an administrative inquiry pertaining to an immigration benefit request,” the spokesperson said. “Although school visits are not routine in these circumstances, they are not unprecedented. 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.”
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