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 Wednesday 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,” according to a memo about the policy.
Here is a list of some of the “Protected Areas”
A school, such as a pre-school, primary or secondary school, vocational or trade school,
or college or university.
• A medical or mental healthcare facility, such as a hospital, doctor’s office, health clinic,
vaccination or testing site, urgent care center, site that serves pregnant individuals, or
community health center.
• A place of worship or religious study, whether in a structure dedicated to activities of
faith (such as a church or religious school) or a temporary facility or location where
such activities are taking place. A place where children gather, such as a playground, recreation center, childcare center,before- or after-school care center, foster care facility, group home for children, or school bus stop.
• A social services establishment, such as a crisis center, domestic violence shelter,
victims services center, child advocacy center, supervised visitation center, family
justice center, community-based organization, facility that serves disabled persons,
homeless shelter, drug or alcohol counseling and treatment facility, or food bank or
pantry or other establishment distributing food or other essentials of life to people in
• A place where disaster or emergency response and relief is being provided, such as
along evacuation routes, where shelter or emergency supplies, food, or water are being
distributed, or registration for disaster-related assistance or family reunification is
• A place where a funeral, graveside ceremony, rosary, wedding, or other religious or
civil ceremonies or observances occur.
• A place where there is an ongoing parade, demonstration, or ral
Arrests in these areas will be allowed in certain circumstances, such as the existence of a national security threat.
Wednesday’s policy is also part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to rollback the hardline immigration policies of former President Donald Trump.
While the Obama administration issued a similar policy that barred enforcement actions in certain areas, the Trump administration largely ignored it.
Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S., according to the memo. While President Joe Biden has vowed to fight for a path to citizenship, efforts to offer them a legalization process have faced numerous roadblocks in Congress this year.