ACLU Statement on Homeland Security Guidelines for Enforcement In or Near Protected Areas

October 27, 2021 5:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from Naureen Shah, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, regarding new guidance from Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas restricting ICE and CBP enforcement actions in or near areas that require special protection:

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in limiting abusive immigration enforcement actions that have long been responsible for spreading fear in immigrant communities and preventing people from accessing vital services. The new guidance replaces previous sensitive location rules and substantially expands the list of locations, like places where children gather, emergency relief sites including vaccine distribution sites, and social services establishments.

“While the new directive has great potential, it could also be circumvented by agents whom the agency continues to rely on to unilaterally make complex, sensitive judgments about the applicability of the policy. Time and again, we have seen individual ICE and CBP agents, motivated by animosity toward immigrants, distort and shirk intended reforms.

“DHS needs to take further steps to ensure it can detect and address abuses, including prohibiting its agents from blocking public recording or documentation of CBP and ICE agents’ behavior and presence in protected areas. DHS should also make its data on enforcement actions at or near these protected areas publicly available.”

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