Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office revealed over social media that he will meet today with Gen. John Kelly, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, after a federal immigration agent visited a Queens elementary school late last week seeking to speak with a fourth-grader.
Reports arose on Sunday that an officer from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services—part of the Department of Homeland Security—stopped by P.S. 58 School of Heroes in the neighborhood of Maspeth last Thursday, without a warrant, and sought to talk to a fourth-grade student. In keeping with policies the de Blasio administration laid out in March, school officials turned the federal officer back and reported the incident to the city Department of Education.
De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips revealed on social media that the liberal Democrat will meet with Kelly while in Washington, D.C. today, as well as with Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
When reporters inquired about the planned subjects of discussion, Phillips indicated the mayor would inquire whether DHS intended to continue to deploy its agents to public schools. He also suggested the mayor would reaffirm the city’s intention to turn away all federal authorities lacking a warrant.
USCIS said that it had sent two employees to the school to discuss the child’s application for an “immigration benefit,” possibly a green card. But Phillips warned that any such visits could spook undocumented parents and their children.
Immigration enforcement has traditionally treated schools, houses of worship and public celebrations and demonstrations as “sensitive locations” where it avoids carrying out legal actions.