New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio instructed the city's school staffers to block federal immigration agents from entering schools unless they have a valid warrant signed by a judge.
The new policy is implemented in order to help ease the fears of some parents in New York City, officials said Tuesday.
While the new guidance issued to New York City schools directs employees to block federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement from entering a school, there has not been any incident yet where an ICE agent has attempted to enter one of the city's schools, the New York Daily News reported.
School officials and employees are instructed to keep immigration agents outside of a school while the New York Police Department and city lawyers are summoned for help, according to the Daily News.
"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," de Blasio said Tuesday during a news conference. "They’re worried that an agent could literally come into the building and single out their child."
"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," de Blasio said. "We have to be ready for anything."
According to an ICE source in the New York office, schools are still considered to be a "sensitive location" — which means the area should be generally avoided, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
De Blasio's new guidelines follows on the heels of instructions from the state's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia who last month issued a guidance to state schools on how to handle federal immigration officers.
The statewide guidance, issued in February, instructed educators to contact a school's superintendent and attorneys should an immigration official seek access to a student or records.
As WNBC reported, New York does not track the immigration status of its students.
The ICE employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to TheBlaze, pointed to "recent fears perpetuated by the new administration" as to the catalyst behind the recent uptick in guidances issued to schools on how to handle immigration officers — "even without a concrete threat of officers entering schools."
Earlier this month, Virginia issued a guidance to schools on how to handle potential probes by federal immigration agents.
According to the Daily News, New York City is holding "100 workshops at schools to teach students, parents and staff about their rights."
The Department of Education has also encouraged principals to ensure students' emergency contact information is updated in case students leave school to find a parent has been detained by federal immigration officers.
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