Federal immigration agents attempted to arrest a resident of an East New York women’s shelter on Tuesday, but security guards prevented the agents from entering the building, a spokeswoman for the shelter confirmed.
Eight officers donning U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement insignia approached the homeless shelter around 10 p.m. on Aug. 6, and showed guards a photo of the person they sought to detain, according to a New York Daily News report. The agents allegedly claimed they had a search warrant to enter the premises, but when they failed to display it, the shelter’s employees did not allow them inside, a spokeswoman for the shelter confirmed.
ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow denied that border officers had conducted any enforcement actions at the shelter on Tuesday.
The East New York shelter is operated by Women in Need — the largest housing provider for homeless women and families in New York City, which is headed by former City Council speaker and 2013 Mayoral hopeful, Christine Quinn, who praised security guards’ for safeguarding residents.
“The safety and security of the women and children in our facilities is our number one priority,” she said.
National law mandates that ICE officials must present court-issued search warrants in order to enter private property, and a New York City mayoral executive order forbids city employees — including homeless shelter workers — from revealing someone’s immigration status, unless that person is suspected of criminal activity.
In July, the immigration officials attempted eight raids citywide, six of which occurred in Brooklyn, including Sunset Park, Midwood, and Bay Ridge. Each raid failed, however, after residents refused to open their doors to the federal agents.
Quinn said that while Tuesday’s attempted arrest sowed fear into the shelter’s immigrant community, she vowed on behalf of WIN to continue protecting the its residents from federal authorities.
“We will always fight for their rights and protect them, no matter the challenge – whether it’s past abusers, local threats, and even bullies like the President of the United States and his deportation force,” she said.