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West Palm Beach School Refuses Unlawful Request for Records from ICE

West Palm Beach immigrants

Legal Help for West Palm Beach Immigrants

Special agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), paid a visit to an elementary school in the school district of Palm Beach County this summer in an attempt to obtain information about a student who attended that school. Because the ICE agents did not have a valid subpoena, the school district declined to cooperate with the request. While schools are among the places covered by the ICE sensitive location policy, which restricts activities in certain areas, the specific action taken by ICE was not prohibited because it did not involve enforcement of immigration policies. The presence of ICE officials on school grounds, however, could prove intimidating for West Palm Beach immigrants who are seeking an education and a better life for their children in the United States.

ICE Motives in Question

While ICE claimed that they were merely seeking to get in touch with a parent of a child whose other parent had been taken into custody on a narcotics charge, some questions remain about why the agents did not simply make a phone call to the school to inform them and to allow them to deal with the situation. Instead, ICE elected to request information protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, better known as FERPA. A former special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Stuart Kaplan, indicated that standard procedure would dictate simply calling the school and informing them of the situation rather than requesting sensitive and protected information about minor children.

Not an Isolated Incident

Earlier this year, ICE made a similar attempt to obtain student records without a court order or subpoena in Tennessee. ICE officials requested student records from Una Elementary School in Nashville but were turned away because of FERPA regulations forbidding the release of these records without proper authorization. Immigration advocates are concerned that these recent activities may indicate a concerted effort against West Palm Beach immigrants is soon to follow. Working with an experienced West Palm Beach immigration lawyer is recommended for those who might otherwise be targeted by ICE in our area.

Immigration Services for West Palm Beach Immigrants

If you need the services of a qualified and professional West Palm Beach immigration lawyer, Pozo Goldstein can provide you with the help and representation you need to resolve issues with ICE and other agencies. Call us today at 561-578-4977 to set up your free initial in-office consultation with our team. We are here to serve you.