NILC Statement on New DHS Memo Safeguarding Protected Areas from Enforcement

October 27, 2021

Madison Allman, [email protected], 202-384-1279

NILC Statement on New DHS Memo Safeguarding Protected Areas from Enforcement

WASHINGTON — Avideh Moussavian, director of federal advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new memo on immigration enforcement actions in or near protected areas, a successor to the agency’s longstanding “sensitive locations” policies:

“The Biden administration’s new policy safeguarding protected areas from immigration enforcement is a welcome step toward ensuring that immigrants and their loved ones can seek critical services without fear that they could be separated from their community. ICE and CBP destabilize and undermine the health and well-being of all community members when immigration officers go after people dropping their kids off at school, seeking health care, participating in rallies, or attending services at their place of worship. The new policy recognizes the need to prevent this by protecting spaces where children gather, where social services, disaster or emergency relief are provided, and by creating a reporting requirement that will help hold immigration enforcement agencies accountable.

“This new policy is a testament to years of advocacy and organizing to make many areas – including schools, hospitals, and other places that provide critical, sometimes life-saving services that support our collective well-being – off limits to ICE and CBP. While we recognize the significance of these changes, we remain deeply concerned by the administration’s dangerous reliance on the discretion of agents who have long operated in a culture of cruelty and impunity. We urge the administration to act swiftly to ensure that all relevant personnel are trained on this policy and can start to comply immediately. We will be monitoring closely to make sure that the new policy is implemented fairly and humanely so that our communities can begin to heal from the specter of immigration enforcement.”