US limits immigration arrests at schools, ‘protected’ areas

Oct 27, 2021, 12:14 AM | Updated: 9:17 pm
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2021, file photo, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks...

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2021, file photo, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. immigration authorities will limit arrests at schools, hospitals and other “protected” areas under guidelines issued Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security, part of a broader effort to roll back the approach to enforcement under President Donald Trump.

Agents and officers are being directed to avoid making arrests or carrying out searches at a range of sensitive locations “to the fullest extent possible,” according to a memo from DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlining the policy.

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.

It also further alienated Biden critics who say weaker enforcement encourages migrants to seek to enter the country illegally. The Trump administration sparked criticism for seeking to arrest and remove anyone in the country illegally regardless of criminal history or community ties, though DHS also operated under a sensitive locations policy that limited enforcement actions in churches and other places.

Guidelines issued earlier this year for immigration enforcement directed agents to focus on recent border crossers, national security threats and people who have committed serious crimes. DHS also imposed limits on arrests at courthouses when people showed up for other matters and ended mass worksite raids.

Mayorkas has argued that his agency does not have the resources to pursue all of the estimated 11 million people in the country without legal status and that it should focus on those who pose the greatest risk to society.

In announcing the new policy guidelines, the secretary said agents and officers should consider “broader societal interests” and the impact of their activities on communities.

“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,” Mayorkas said.

The list of protected areas includes broad categories such as “a place where children gather” and “a place where disaster or emergency response and relief is being provided,” an expansive policy that marks a significant shift for an agency that includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which some immigrant advocates want to see abolished altogether.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a staunch critic of Biden policies, blasted the guidelines as a “handy list of safe places from enforcement.”

But the new guidelines drew praise from advocates for immigrants such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “DHS is reaffirming that people should not live in fear of enforcement actions as they access health care, schools, places of worship, and other important institutions,” said AILA President Allen Orr.

Exceptions include when the action involves a national security threat; if there is an imminent risk of death, violence or physical harm to a person; if it involves the “hot pursuit” of someone who poses a public safety threat and someone who was personally observed crossing the border without legal authorization.

Other exceptions would be if there is an imminent risk that evidence material to a criminal case would be destroyed or if a safe alternative location does not exist.

Otherwise, agents or officers would have to get approval before taking an enforcement action “in or near” a protected area, the memo said.

The Biden administration has struggled to deal with large numbers of migrants seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, though the total encountered has declined the past two months following more than a year of monthly increases.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, stops to answer...
Associated Press

GOP risks government shutdown to fight Biden vaccine mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government could be heading for a temporary shutdown, with Republicans poised to stall a must-pass funding bill in their effort to force a debate in Congress on rolling back the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some workers. Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate who are opposed to Biden’s […]
23 hours ago
Atlanta mayoral runoff candidate Andre Dickens gives his victory speech Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in ...
Associated Press

In Atlanta, underdog Andre Dickens rises to mayor’s office

ATLANTA (AP) — Andre Dickens, who rolled to victory Tuesday in the Atlanta mayor’s race, was told he was aiming too high once before. In 2013, he was an administrator at Georgia Tech when he jumped into a race for a citywide seat on the Atlanta City Council. Dickens was targeting a council member who […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Del. Martha Mugler, D-Hampton, second from right, and Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, ri...
Associated Press

Virginia House control in balance as vote recount begins

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — One of the two outstanding vote recounts that will settle whether Virginia Republicans have reclaimed the majority in the House of Delegates is set to get underway Thursday in Virginia Beach. Elections officials and representatives from both parties are expected to take part in the secondary counting of ballots requested by […]
23 hours ago
Chris Courchaine carries a Christmas tree he bought at Crystal River Christmas Trees in Alameda, Ca...
Associated Press

Christmas tree buyers face reduced supplies, higher prices

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Even Christmas trees aren’t immune to the pandemic-induced shortages and inflation plaguing the economy. Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions have reduced supplies of both real and artificial trees this season. American shoppers should expect to have fewer choices and pay up to 30% more for both types this Christmas, industry […]
23 hours ago
House Jan. 6 Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., center, flanked by Rep. Zoe Lofgre...
Associated Press

Jan. 6 panel votes to hold former DOJ official in contempt

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection has voted to pursue contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who refused to answer the committee’s questions — but the panel agreed to let him come back for another try. The committee voted 9-0 Wednesday to pursue criminal […]
23 hours ago
A man wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in...
Associated Press

Asian markets mixed after Wall St decline, virus unease

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after a turbulent day on Wall Street as traders tried to forecast the impact of the coronavirus’s omicron variant. Tokyo and Sydney fell while Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Shanghai was unchanged. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index ended down 1.2% on Wednesday after gaining 1.9% […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
US limits immigration arrests at schools, ‘protected’ areas