UNITED STATES NEWS

US limits immigration arrests at schools, ‘protected’ areas

Oct 27, 2021, 7:00 PM | Updated: 9:36 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.

United States News

This combination of 2021 photos shows Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce,, left, and Billie Eilish in...
Associated Press

‘Cheugy,’ ‘omicron’ among 2021’s most mispronounced words

“Cheugy” is apparently a lot to chew on. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce have something in common — broadcasters butcher their names. And virtually everyone is having trouble with “omicron.” All four made it onto this year’s list of most mispronounced words as compiled by the U.S. Captioning Company, […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Voters sign in at Frank McCourt High School for New York's party primaries, June 22, 2021, i...
Associated Press

New York City poised to give voting rights to noncitizens

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City, long a beacon for immigrants, is on the cusp of becoming the largest places in the country to give noncitizens the right to vote in local elections. Legally documented, voting-age noncitizens comprise nearly one in nine of the city’s 7 million voting-age inhabitants. Under a bill nearing approval, […]
24 hours ago
Pearl Harbor survivor Herb Elfring speaks at a news conference in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Sunday, D...
Associated Press

Survivors gather to remember those lost at Pearl Harbor

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — A few dozen survivors of Pearl Harbor are expected to gather Tuesday at the site of the Japanese bombing 80 years ago to remember those killed in the attack that launched the U.S. into World War II. Herb Elfring, 99, said he’s glad to return to Pearl Harbor considering he […]
24 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 stocks follow Wall Street higher as virus fears ease

BEIJING (AP) — Asia stock markets followed Wall Street higher Tuesday as anxiety about the coronavirus’s latest variant eased. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices gained for a second day. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 1.2% after the chief White House medical adviser said the omicron variant might be less dangerous. […]
24 hours ago
People hold umbrellas as it begins to rain on an otherwise empty beach in Honolulu on Monday, Dec. ...
Associated Press

Dangerous storm threatens havoc across Hawaiian archipelago

HONOLULU (AP) — From the empty shores of Oahu’s Waikiki Beach to the snowy summit of the Big Island’s highest peak, an unusually strong winter storm is clobbering the Hawaiian Islands and raising the threat of dangerous flash floods, landslides and crashing tree limbs. The strong storm over the nation’s only island state left eloping […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks during a protest against family separation a...
Associated Press

Socialist Kshama Sawant faces recall vote in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — A controversial member of the Seattle City Council – firebrand socialist Kshama Sawant – faces a recall election Tuesday one month after voters chose moderate candidates over progressives in the general election. The recall is seen as a further test of whether the left wing is in retreat in one of the […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
...
ENVOQUE MD

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
US limits immigration arrests at schools, ‘protected’ areas