A federal immigration official was turned away from an elementary school in Queens, New York, after he reportedly went looking for a fourth-grade student.
A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer was denied entry to Public School 58 in Maspeth because the agent did not have a warrant.
It’s still unclear as to why exactly the agent was trying to locate the student. However, the incident sparked criticism of federal immigration authorities as it comes amid stepped-up deportation efforts under President Donald Trump.
ICE began arresting and deporting hundreds of people after the president signed executive orders for more stringent immigration rules.
Although the policy was originally aimed at removing “criminals,” as per the president’s promise, the ICE raids soon turned into an indiscriminate crackdown against undocumented immigrants.
As of April, more than half of the nearly 700 undocumented immigrants arrested had no criminal records.
As fear over the arrests is increasing, some undocumented immigrants are reportedly avoiding going out, even to work, or sending their children to school.
In light of Trump’s orders, New York City, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, ordered education staffers to refuse immigration agents entry into school buildings without a warrant — and that’s exactly what Public School 58 did when the ICE agent tried to track down the unnamed fourth-grader.
“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,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña reassured parents. “The federal agent was turned away — we're looking into this incident and are providing schools with additional information on our protocol and more trainings."