City's Immigrant Affairs Commissioner praises "protections in place" after removal of USCIS officials from Queens school
It isn’t clear what exactly led U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to enter a Maspeth, Queens, public school to ask about a student, but the de Blasio administration considers the school’s response a triumph of good policy.
“The guidance is simple,” New York City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal said at a United Federation of Teachers immigration forum Monday. “The school safety agents and staff have to immediately call the principal and lawyers. And if the enforcement official does not have the right paperwork, which is a judicial warrant, they’re removed from the building. They’re not even allowed to wait inside the building. The school followed the protocol and turned those immigration officials away,” she concluded, drawing applause from the crowd of educators.
Agarwal and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña held a brief press conference outside the school, P.S. 58, on Monday morning to reassure parents of the city’s “sanctuary city” policies despite the Trump administration’s increase in the arrest of noncriminal immigrants. At the forum, Agarwal reiterated that students will be protected in schools. “I think this is the first time we’ve ever heard of something like this happening at a school,” she said. “But we’re happy we had the protections in place.”