WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, regarding the new guidance from Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to put new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses:
“Today’s announcement is an important step toward reining in a practice that has harmed immigrant communities and weakened public safety. For years, DHS has used courthouses as a staging ground for immigration arrests, including violent encounters that left immigrants and their family members afraid and prevented them from seeking the protection and assistance of our legal system.
“The new DHS policy is a vital improvement, but still creates a sweeping ‘national security’ exception and a flawed ‘public safety’ exception, terms that have long been used to target Black and Brown communities. The policy also fails to address the damaging effect created by the mere presence of CBP and ICE personnel and vehicles inside and outside courthouses, whether or not arrests are made.
“We urge the administration to take further steps to limit CBP and ICE’s presence at all sensitive locations, like hospitals and schools; strictly constrain their use of force in arrests; and to require supervisory approval for all arrests in communities. In addition, communities will continue to be afraid to seek legal and police protection as long as ICE taps local law enforcement to assist in ICE deportations, including through the 287(g) program. The Biden administration clearly recognizes the damage done to immigrant communities — now it must follow through on its commitment and end these harmful practices once and for all.”