Two federal immigration officials show up an a Queens school Thursday asking about a fourth grader, but the de Blasio administration and the Department of Homeland Security are in dispute about what happened next. NY1 Education Reporter Lindsey Christ has the story.
P.S. 58 has a reputation as a welcoming place. Many students are children of immigrants from all over the world.
But Monday, city officials boasted that they rolled up the welcome mat for two immigration officers.
"We're here today really reassure parents that our schools are safe and that our children will be protected to the upmost degree," Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said at a press conference outside the school.
This was the first time immigration officers visited a school since Mayor Bill de Blasio issued guidelines making it clear that enforcement agents were not wanted.
The schools chancellor says P.S. 58 followed the policy.
Education officials said a school safety officer and administrator did not let the agents inside or give them info.
"This was probably our first test case, and I think we went through it pretty well," Fariña said.
Fariña's visit was part of a high-profile response by Blasio, who opposes President Trump's get-tough policy towards undocumented immigrants.
The mayor's press secretary tweeted indignantly about the incident.
"Federal law enforcement cannot get into city property — and schools in particular — without having the right paperwork," said Nisha Agarwal, the commissioner of the Office of Immigrant Affairs.
But late Monday, Homeland Security said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were not involved.
It said the visitors were fraud officers investigating a request for immigration benefits, adding that the officers never sought to question the student, and that they sought only to determine if he was enrolled.
The agency said he was not. The agency added, "The officers were in plainclothes...identified themselves and presented credentials….They spoke to school administrators and left….They were not barred from the property nor asked to leave."
40 percent of P.S. 58's students are Hispanic, and another 40 percent are Asian. Parents say they're upset over the incident.
"Whether parents are legal or illegal, they're supposed to not harass the kid," one parent said. "Mr. Trump needs to understand that. Stop it, please."
But the parents apparently were misinformed. And with emotions over immigration running high, the possibility of more such misunderstandings in the future is high.