The Department of Homeland Security’s top official has dramatically expanded the places where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are not allowed to go to make arrests.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo this week outlining the additional locations while also claiming that the new rules should not be seen as limiting ICE agents’ ability to enforce immigration laws.
ICE agents have been barred from making arrests of those in the country illegally at schools and hospitals, but Mayorkas has expanded those locations to now include places of worship, places where kids gather like playgrounds and recreational centers, bus stops, and buildings housing social services “such as domestic violence and homeless shelters,” DailyMail.com reported.
ICE officers also cannot target protests, weddings, or funerals.
The rule change implores agents to “reconsider” such enforcement actions “near” the newly protected locations.
“In our pursuit of justice, including in the execution of our enforcement responsibilities, we impact people’s lives and advance our country’s well-being in the most fundamental ways,” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
“As a result, when conducting an enforcement action, ICE and CBP agents and officers must first examine and consider the impact of where actions might possibly take place, their effect on people, and broader societal interests,” the DHS chief continued.
“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 noted. “This principle is fundamental.
“We can accomplish our enforcement mission without denying or limiting 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,” he said. “Our obligation to refrain, to the fullest extent possible, from conducting a law enforcement action in or near a protected area thus applies at all times and is not limited by hours or days of operation.”
Earlier this month, the department also announced it would stop conducting workplace raids and instead focus on prosecuting employers. Officials said that such raids were unfair to illegal aliens and did not have sufficient consequences for the employers breaking U.S. law in hiring undocumented workers.
“With today’s directive, Secretary Mayorkas has accomplished to radical left’s goal of abolishing ICE,” said Federation for American Immigration Reform head Dan Stein said in a statement, the Associated Press reported. “The agency still exists, but it has been stripped of all of its functions with regard to the enforcement of immigration laws.”
“Nearly all illegal aliens are already off-limits to enforcement due to a Sep. 30 memo, and as a result of Mayorkas’ ‘expanded and non-exhaustive list of protected areas,’ where ICE agents are permitted to do their work, the secretary has essentially nullified an entire body of constitutionally enacted laws,” Stein noted further.
“It might have been easier for the Biden administration to list locations where immigration enforcement is actually allowed,” Jon Feere, former chief of staff at ICE, told the Washington Times. “This is just the latest example of the Biden administration’s effort to dramatically curtail immigration enforcement by any means necessary.”
Added Chad Wolf, former acting DHS chief under President Trump: “This is what abolishing ICE looks like. Disaster in the middle of a crisis.”
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reacted with a mix of incredulity and outrage over the new rule.
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