U.S. bars immigration arrests at schools, hospitals and other 'protected areas'

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers conduct a raid in Sherman, Texas as part of Operation Cross Check on June 20, 2019.
Under a new policy, issued Wednesday by Department of Homeland Security, U.S. immigration officials will not be allowed to make arrests or other enforcement actions at schools, hospitals, and other areas that are "protected".

This policy is immediately effective and will apply to both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agents. They will receive up-to-date training.

According to a memo, they will not be allowed to make arrests, conduct searches or serve subpoenas in areas where immigrants "receive" or engage in essential services or activities.

According to the memo, schools and universities are included in the list of protected areas.

Shelters for homeless and domestic violence victims, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and food pantries are just a few of the other areas. According to the memo, immigration enforcement is restricted at funerals, demonstrations, and parades.

In certain cases, such as if there is a national security risk, arrests in these areas may be permitted.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Secretary, stated Wednesday in a statement that immigration authorities should "consider the effect" of enforcement actions and how they affect people's "broader social interests."

Mayorkas stated that law enforcement can be accomplished without denigrating individuals' access to medical care, children's access to schools, displaced people's access to food and shelter, and people of faith accessing their religious places of worship. Mayorkas stated that adhering to this principle is the foundation of our standing as public servants.

This is the latest attempt by the Biden administration, to reduce the enforcement power of U.S immigration authorities.

For example, earlier this month, the administration directed immigration authorities not to conduct mass worksite arrests. Last month, immigration authorities were instructed to stop deporting people solely for being undocumented.

This policy, which was adopted Wednesday by President Joe Biden, is part of his efforts to reverse the hardline immigration policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.

The Obama administration had a similar policy, which prohibited enforcement actions in certain areas. However, Trump ignored it.

According to the memo, approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. Although President Joe Biden has pledged to fight for citizenship, attempts to legalize them have been met with many obstacles in Congress this year.