U.S. immigration authorities will be restricted from carrying out arrests and other enforcement actions at hospitals, schools and a range of other “protected” areas under a new policy issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
- The policy goes into effect immediately and applies to both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agents, who will all receive updated training.
- They will be prohibited from making arrests, conducting searches and serving subpoenas at areas where immigrants “receive or engage in the essential services or activities.”
- The list of “protected areas” include schools and university campuses, hospitals and other medical facilities, Covid-19 testing and vaccination sites, places of worship and sites where children gather, such as playgrounds and day care centers.
- Other areas include shelters for homeless people and victims of domestic violence, drug and alcohol treatment facilities and food pantries. Immigration enforcement is also restricted at or nearby funerals, demonstrations and parades. Arrests in these areas will be allowed in certain circumstances, such as the existence of a national security threat.
- The new policy is the latest move by the Biden administration to narrow the enforcement power of U.S. immigration authorities.