Charlotte Spanish-language preschool age program closes for the week after teachers “harassed,” director says

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The local fallout of immigration raids in North Carolina continues.

PlaySpanish, a preschool-age program that teaches the language to Charlotte children, has suspended all of its classes for the rest of the week after receiving reports that two of its instructors were stopped and “harassed” at what he described as police/immigration checkpoints in Charlotte and near Gastonia, according to an email to parents from the director. The company also posted a notice on Facebook.

The Agenda was not immediately able to confirm the account of immigration and police checkpoints in Charlotte and Gaston County. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said they do not conduct checkpoints.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it “does not enforce federal immigration laws or profile community members based on their immigration status, period.”

“CMPD’s primary goal is to prevent and solve crimes,” the department said in a statement. “In order to be successful, it is critical to maintain trust between CMPD and the communities it serves.”

The federal immigrations agency said it does not target illegal immigrants “indiscriminately” but only conducts targeted actions.

PlaySpanish does not have its own building, but conducts its classes at preschools and daycares.

All PlaySpanish instructors are legally in this country, director Ricardo Mata said.

“Harassing, humiliating and abusing them makes absolutely no sense, is illegal and goes against every single value we profess as a country,” Mata wrote.

“I want to end by inviting all of you to pray for wisdom and common sense to return to our country and, especially, to those in power.”

Immigration officials said this week that 84 “unlawfully present foreign nationals” were swept up in a major enforcement action.

Several Charlotte restaurants are closed today as part of a “Day Without Immigrants” protest against the Trump administration’s actions and statements. Mata said he did not intend to participate. He also said that he can’t afford to be out of business long, but will not put his teachers at risk.

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Andrew Dunn
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