May 15, 2017
Dear Students and Families,
We are writing with an update to our letters from January 30, 2017 and March 21, 2017, to reassure you that all students, regardless of immigration status, are welcome in NYC public schools. We will do everything in our power to protect students, staff and families.
We also want to make you aware of an incident that took place on May 11, 2017. Two individuals who stated they were federal agents from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services went to P.S. 58 in Queens and inquired about a 4th-grade student. They were not given access to any students. We are committed to protecting the right of every student in New York City who attends public school. The DOE is working with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the NYPD to look into this concerning incident.
As outlined in the DOE’s protocol, Federal agents, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), will not be permitted to enter schools, except when absolutely required by law. Additionally, the DOE does not track immigration status of students or family members, and will not release student information unless absolutely required to by law.
If you have questions or need resources, we are hosting Know Your Rights workshops for students, parents and community members, which are continuing to take place across the City. The workshops provide information on the rights of immigrant New Yorkers, City services that are available, safety planning and fraud prevention. The workshops connect participants to legal services through ActionNYC and we will be increasing the number of workshops available in the coming weeks.
We want to remind you that all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, can continue to access City services. If you have any questions, call 311 or visit http://schools.nyc.gov/supportingallstudents to learn more about the DOE's immigration protocol, and to access resources to support you and your family.
Public schools are at the center of our democracy and we will continue to work together to protect all students and families and fulfill our mission of delivering a high-quality education to all New York City students. That includes providing schools with guidance on how to facilitate discussions with staff and students that promote respectful conversations about diversity and inclusivity.
We are a city of immigrants, and we stand strongly next to each one of you in protecting the rights of students and all New Yorkers.
Carmen Fariña Nisha Agarwal
NYC Department of Education Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs