Thursday, October 28, 2021
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas yesterday issued a new, comprehensive policy to guide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforcement actions in or near protected areas, replacing previous sensitive locations guidance. The policy provides an expanded and non-exhaustive list of protected areas, including new designations such as places where children gather, disaster or emergency relief sites, and social services establishments.
“In our pursuit of justice, including in the execution of our enforcement responsibilities, we impact people’s lives and advance our country’s well-being in the most fundamental ways. As a result, when conducting an enforcement action, ICE and CBP agents and officers must first examine and consider the impact of where actions might possibly take place, their effect on people, and broader societal interests,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “We can accomplish our law enforcement mission without denying individuals access to needed medical care, children access to their schools, the displaced access to food and shelter, people of faith access to their places of worship, and more. Adherence to this principle is a bedrock of our stature as public servants.”
Under the new guidance, U.S. immigration authorities will limit arrests at schools, hospitals and other “protected” areas. It represents a major change in the approach to enforcement under President Donald Trump. Agents and officers are directed to avoid making arrests or carrying out searches at a range of sensitive locations “to the fullest extent possible.” It is the latest in a series of immigration policies under President Joe Biden aimed at taking a more targeted approach to enforcement. The policy is similar to one under President Barack Obama that restricted arrests at churches and schools. The new policy includes not just schools but medical and daycare facilities, playgrounds and recreation centers as well as demonstrations and rallies.