The head of New York City public schools is reassuring parents about their children's safety and privacy Monday, days after the mayor's office said two federal immigrant agents showed up at a Queens elementary school asking about a fourth-grade student enrolled there.
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said the two agents with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services were turned away from PS 58 in Maspeth Thursday. School officials declined to tell them where the child was and said they did not know why agents were asking about the student.
Farina said the probe is ongoing, "but we are assuring parents that not only were the agents never allowed beyond the front door, that in the future they will actually be kept out on the sidewalks" pending further investigation.
Farina said that a letter reiterating proper protocol would be sent out this week so that everyone -- "from the school custodian to the highest level of school administration" would be trained in how to handle such situations.
"In our schools we protect our students and our families and want to reassure parents that no information is ever given to any federal agent," the chancellor added.
A USCIS spokeswoman said she could not discuss the details of the case, but confirmed the two agents went to the Maspeth elementary school "as part of an administrative inquiry pertaining to an immigration benefit request."
"Although school visits are not routine in these circumstances, they are not unprecedented," spokeswoman Anita Rios Moore said. "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," she added.