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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng Sends Letter to Head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to Demand Answers About Why Agents Entered P.S. 58 in Maspeth, Queens

May 15, 2017
Press Release
QUEENS, NY – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) this afternoon sent a letter to the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to demand answers about why agents entered P.S. 58 in Maspeth, Queens in search of information pertaining to a fourth-grade student.
 
“As the mother of two public school students here in Queens, one of which is also in the fourth-grade, I remain deeply concerned about USCIS agents showing up to P.S. 58,” said Congresswoman Meng. “We want to know about the agency’s policies, protocols and circumstances that led to the agents entering the school, and I eagerly await answers to these important questions.”
 
“President Trump’s immigration henchmen now seem to think it’s OK to show up at a public school to try to scare our families,” said Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “This visit is just another piece of evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is out of control, and it raises serious questions about its integrity. But our community will stand strong. We are pleased that the school staff appears to have followed the Department of Education’s new protocols, and we urge the City to ensure that staff at all public schools are fully trained on these family-saving policies.”
 
“Although it appears that Thursday’s events were not an enforcement action, it demonstrates how important it is for the Department of Education to have these protocols in place to protect every student in New York City, regardless of immigration status,” said New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Steven Choi. “While we applaud the City for its commitment to ensuring that all children can learn in a safe environment, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the DOE and City leadership to identify where additional action is needed. Fears have escalated within the immigrant community as a result of the Trump administration’s hateful rhetoric, but this is our New York and we will fight to protect all students and their families, no matter where they're from."
 
Click here to see a copy of Meng’s letter. The text of the correspondence is below.
 
-------------------------------------------
 
May 15, 2017
 
James McCament
Acting Director
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
 
Dear Director McCament,
 
I write to express my deep concern over reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agents entered an elementary school in my district in search of information pertaining to a student. The incident occurred at P.S. 58 The School of Heroes, located at 72-24 Grand Ave, Maspeth, NY 11378, on May 11, 2017.
 
Both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have explicit policies outlining acceptable and prohibited actions that can be taken by their officers and agents at “sensitive locations,” such as schools, houses of worship, and hospitals. However, CIS does not appear to have a similar policy in place.
 
The agents’ actions raise serious concerns over the supervision of USCIS agents and USCIS policies and protocols. In an effort to ensure that these sensitive locations remain protected, I request that you provide the following information:
 
  1. A detailed description of all USCIS policies regarding sensitive locations.
 
  1. A detailed description of all USCIS policies or protocols in relation to inquiries made at schools regarding students.  
 
  1. A detailed description of the circumstances that led to USCIS agents to enter P.S. 58 The School of Heroes, on May 11, 2017 and to why an in-person visit was necessary, as opposed to an email or a phone inquiry?
 
  1. A detailed description of any approvals for provided to the agents in question that would allow them to enter P.S. 58 The School of Heroes, on May 11, 2017.
 
  1. Any determination as to whether the agents in question followed USCIS policy when he entered P.S. 58 The School of Heroes, on May 11, 2017.
 
Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this matter. I eagerly await your response.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Grace Meng
Member of Congress