New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared that his deputies will be working to keep Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents out of schools. All agents will be turned away at the door unless they show a warrant that has been signed by a judge. If the warrant is deemed valid by city attorneys, only then will the agents be allowed to enter the building. Once the agents are inside the school, they will be escorted by school or city officials to make sure they remain only in areas of the building that have been approved by the judge.
“ICE agents will not be wandering the halls [of schools] ,” said de Blasio. “We will not allow ICE agents to threaten that protection, disrupt classes or take any action that would be detrimental to our students. With these updated guidelines, we are reinforcing the fact that a school is a safe and protected location.”
To this point, there have not been any incidents in which ICE agents have tried to enter school grounds to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant wanted for a crime. However, Mayor de Blasio says his decision comes as the city plans to implement rules before any such thing happens.
“We want to be very clear to parents that we’re not allowing ICE agents in the building, because I think parents are so afraid right now. They’re worried that an agent could literally come into the building and single out their child,” de Blasio said. “I know it sounds outlandish, but we’re seeing things that we have not seen before and there’s a tremendous amount of fear out there…We have to be ready for anything.”
Watch Mayor de Blasio’s speech below:
ICE doesn’t seem to have any qualms with cooperating with the mayor’s announcement, mainly because schools aren’t seen as important stops for them.
ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow said that schools, hospitals and churches are considered “sensitive locations.” That means any agents must have prior approval from a supervisor before entering any of those buildings to arrest a suspect.
The mayor was joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal during his press conference. It was made in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.
“This adds another layer of defense so that it’s quite clear if an agent shows up, the default position is they’re not coming in the building,” the liberal mayor said. “Legal staff from the DOE and/or Law Department have to get involved, the principal has to get involved, senior police officials have to get involved before any decision is made on how to proceed.”
The announcement comes at a time when liberal mayors from around the country are gathering to oppose President Trump and his administration any way they can. Many cities in America are considered “sanctuary cities,” meaning they harbor undocumented illegal immigrants using public funds and municipal policies.
Sixty mayors from all over the country held press conferences and other events in their own cities on Tuesday. It was a joint effort in the ‘#MayorsStand4All’ social media campaign, which was launched to gather support for both legal and illegal immigrants in the United States.
New York is the ultimate city of immigrants. I want to send a clear message to our immigrant families: this is your city.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor)
Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined the campaign as well. Adler noted he recently offered written testimony in opposition to the state’s SB 4, the sanctuary city bill before the Texas legislature. It seeks to remove duly elected officials and possibly even jail them if they don’t fully cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials with deportations.
Under the Trump Administration, ICE is now publishing a weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report, which demonstrates the crimes for which immigrants – both legal and illegal – have been accused. The first report revealed that “sanctuary cities” released 206 criminal immigrants from their jails. Texas leads the country with more than 70 percent of all cases. While there were 149 criminal immigrants released from Texas jails, 142 were released in Travis County, the county that includes the state’s capital city of Austin.
Just before the #MayorsStand4All events, a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) spokeswoman, Jessica Vaughan, said, “The report from DHS is commendable, but also alarming. Now the public can understand exactly who is benefiting from the sanctuary policies–the released criminal aliens.”
, it was estimated that the state of New York had around 350,000 illegal immigrant students, although in the past three years this number has surely fluctuated. That year, however, New York City’s Department of Education informed principals that they would expect around 2,350 immigrant students to enroll in the city’s schools. This number was met – and exceeded.
Many of these children were unaccompanied. In the city, Queens has received the highest number of unaccompanied children, 732, followed by Brooklyn with 434. The Bronx had 433, Manhattan had 63 and Staten Island received less than 50, according to federal reports. In all, the state received around 12 percent of the entire country’s immigrant student population.
In 2013, the city averaged $20,749 per-pupil spending. By this math, that means immigrant children cost the school district approximately $48.7 million to educate in one school year. This was in New York City alone.
Due to President Obama’s “Dreamer Act,” many of the children who came during this time were given amnesty, usually in connection to fleeing persecution or abuse in their native countries. While around 5 million immigrants were allowed to stay, per Obama’s executive order, a large number of these children have not gone through the process to be granted any sort of visa or asylum. They’re known as the “overflow.” Thus, they show up on the Department of Homeland Security’s list as illegal aliens and are subject to deportation.
Mayor de Blasio’s announcement, while it may be great for children receiving an education here in the U.S. and bring some sort of comfort to them, is still an example of direct opposition to the Trump administration and its new regulations. The bottom line is this: if you are here illegally, you must go through the process of being granted some kind of residency in the United States – whether it’s a visa, green card, or whatever. Everyone has a soft spot for children, especially when it comes to their education and safety, but can we bypass laws and regulations just because the person is under 18? At a time like this, one would think it’s more important than ever to follow the law, not forego it.
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