A federal immigration agent came looking for a fourth-grader at school
As if teachers and schools don’t have enough to worry about these days, with school lunch programs getting cut, special education programs on the line, and DeVos running the show, schools now have to deal with federal immigration officials knocking down their doors.
Just last week, school officials at an elementary school in Queens, New York turned away an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer who showed up at the school looking for a fourth-grade boy. Yes, you read that right. The current administration now has ICE officials coming after children.
According to CBS News, the incident happened on May 10 at P.S. 58 in Maspeth, Queens. School authorities turned ICE officials away at the door.
“We’re looking into this incident and are providing schools with additional information on our protocol and more trainings,” New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement. “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.”
New York state law entitles students ages 5 to 21 to a free public education, regardless of immigration status. This was the first time ICE had shown up at a New York public school since the city enacted a policy to refuse entry to federal agents without warrants.
“We’re not allowing (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents in 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,” New York City Mayor de Blasio said in March.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services said the purpose of the visit to P.S. 58 was to verify facts about the student’s enrollment in connection with a request for immigration benefits, but some parents are understandably uncomfortable about the incident. One woman told 1010 WINS that she didn’t like the idea of ICE coming into the schools and agreed with the school’s refusal to permit entry to the federal agents.
“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,” she said.
City officials are also concerned about the incident. “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 Pix11. “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.”
In the first few weeks of the Trump administration, immigration arrests rose 32.6 percent, and the number of arrests of immigrants with no criminal records more than doubled to 5,441 – a sharp departure from the compassionate immigration policies of previous administrations. Among the casualties of Trump’s polices are a mother of two who was arrested at one of her scheduled visits with ICE, a woman recently granted a domestic abuse protective order, and a father who was taking his children to school. A Republican Congressman even toasted the deportation of a 23-year-old DREAMer, who had been granted protection under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
And now ICE is coming to schools looking for children. The absurdity and cruelty of it all is shocking and senseless.