Why did immigration agents go to a Maspeth elementary school just to ‘verify’ info, lawmaker asks

Congresswoman Grace Meng wants answers as to why USCIS agents went to P.S. 58 in Maspeth.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Congresswoman Grace Meng is demanding answers as to why U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agents entered P.S. 58 The School of Heroes in Maspeth last week looking for information about a fourth-grade student.

Meng was outraged on Sunday when it was originally reported that a pair of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents visited the school located at the corner of Grand and 57th avenues on the morning of Thursday, May 11, without a warrant, looking for the unidentified fourth-grader. Eric Phillips, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said the school turned the agents away.

It was then reported on May 15 that ICE agents were not involved in the situation; rather, USCIS agents went to P.S. 58 to inquire about the enrollment status of the student in question in conjunction with a “benefits request,” the Department of Homeland Security announced in a tweet.



“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,” Meng said. “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.”

In order to get these answers, Meng penned a letter on Monday, May 15, to James McCament, the Acting Director of USCIS, requesting:

  • A detailed description of all USCIS policies regarding sensitive locations;
  • A detailed description of all USCIS policies or protocols in relation to inquiries made at schools regarding students;
  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • 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.