Biden bans enforcement of immigration laws in "protected areas"

LOS ANGELES – The Biden administration on Wednesday designated schools and hospitals across the country, as well as a wide range of othe...


LOS ANGELES – The Biden administration on Wednesday designated schools and hospitals across the country, as well as a wide range of other places, off limits to immigration enforcement, the latest sign it is is committed to protecting millions of undocumented residents from deportation while working to provide them a path to legalization remaining stranded in Congress.

The new guidelines, which come into effect immediately, list “protected areas” where immigration officials must refrain from making arrests, searches, subpoenas or other execution. .

The sites include schools and university campuses; hospitals, clinics and other medical establishments, in addition to Covid-19 screening and vaccination sites; places of worship; and places where children congregate, such as playgrounds, daycares and foster homes.

“Individuals should not be restricted or restricted in their access to essential services,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, in an interview Wednesday before the official announcement.

“Children shouldn’t be afraid to go to school. Their parents shouldn’t be afraid to drop them off or pick them up, ”he added.

Other protected sites include shelters for victims of domestic violence and the homeless, drug and alcohol treatment centers, pantries, and sites offering assistance to people fleeing disasters. natural. Immigration law enforcement measures should also be avoided at or near funerals, parades and demonstrations.

The guidelines represent the third policy released by the Biden administration in recent weeks in an attempt to bring “greater humanity” to immigration law enforcement, Mayorkas said.

They mark a profound change in domestic law enforcement and are intended, he said, to improve the daily lives of millions of undocumented immigrants.

Most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants to the United States have lived here for a decade or more, often with children born in the United States and deep connections to their communities. According to the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of undocumented adults are in the workforce.

The list of places prohibited for immigrant arrests or other types of enforcement is longer and more specific than the one put in place under the Obama administration in 2011, which prohibited execution in places deemed sensitive. During the Trump administration, indiscriminate arrests were common.

A note detailing the policy, which applies to field officers for immigration and customs enforcement and customs and border protection, said officers should “to the extent possible” refrain from any enforcement action in the types of locations on the “at any time.”

Any exceptions must be approved by agency headquarters, the note says.

The guidelines come as Democrats continue to fight to add immigration provisions to a sprawling social safety net and climate bill. Possibilities include offering protected status without citizenship to some undocumented people and allowing immigrants who have been in the country for more than a decade to apply for permanent legal residence.

Since taking office, President Biden has moved away from his predecessor’s harsh approach to illegal immigration; the new guidelines are the most recent in a series intended to ease enforcement indoors, away from border regions of the country.

This week, two House Republicans sent a letter to Mr Mayorkas demanding responses on the changes in enforcement priorities.

Arizona Representative Andy Biggs called the new approach “an affront to the rule of law.”

“Instead of preventing ICE from enforcing the law, the Biden administration should empower them to keep our country safe,” he said in a statement.

Mr Biden has maintained some of the border policies introduced by former President Donald J. Trump to curb the influx of unauthorized migrants at the border. However, customs officials met a record 1.7 million migrants in the fiscal year ended September 30.

Under the Trump administration, many undocumented migrants refrained from spending time outdoors with their children and kept going out to a minimum, usually to shop and go to work, knowing they could be apprehended even though they hadn’t committed any crime.

Mr Trump has rejected the discretionary power former President Barack Obama exercised to enforce immigration, instead making anyone in the country illegally vulnerable to deportation.

Mr. Mayorkas, who chaired the new enforcement strategy, released the first set new domestic priorities last month, ordering Immigration and Customs officials to target for deportation from the country only migrants who had recently crossed the border or people who posed a threat to public safety.

Last week Mr. Mayorkas announced the suspension raids on workplaces that can lead to the arrest and eventual deportation of thousands of undocumented workers. Massive roundups, often at food processing plants, were a critical part of immigration enforcement under the Trump administration.

“We must examine the population illegally in the country and recognize their significant contribution and presence for many years,” Mayorkas said, adding that the administration must adopt policies that protect undocumented immigrants since Congress does not has so far not granted their legal status.

But while the latest measures are likely to win praise from immigrant advocates, it is not clear whether core ICE officers, many of whom were in favor of the crackdown imposed by the old administration, were up to the task. will comply with it.

“ICE and CBP have openly and brazenly defied guidelines in the past,” said Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which has led a fight against local police collaboration with law enforcement officials. ‘immigration.

“In addition to describing and expanding sensitive locations, the secretary should take steps to curb the rogue agents tasked with implementing the new priorities,” he said.

Mr Mayorkas said that the implementation will be done through the training, management and supervision of agents.

The Biden administration has drawn fierce criticism from immigrant advocates who are frustrated that they have not made progress on their campaign pledge to offer a permanent legal solution to undocumented immigrants during their first year at the office. to be able to.

Immigrants and their allies have staged protests across the country from Washington to Los Angeles in recent weeks to pressure Democrats to include a path to citizenship in the social safety net and the bill. on the climate.

Protesters blocked traffic on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge during the morning rush hour last Thursday, demanding Senate Democrats “take immediate action to protect all immigrant families,” according to a statement from organizers.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden bans enforcement of immigration laws in "protected areas"
Biden bans enforcement of immigration laws in "protected areas"
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