OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The Biden administration has dramatically expanded the places and locations Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are no longer permitted to go in their efforts to target migrants in the U.S. illegally.
According to a memo from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ICE agents are not allowed to enforce immigration laws around graveyards, anywhere children “gather,” or community organization offices, “effectively blocking officers from making arrests across many urban areas,” the Washington Times reported this week.
“This principle is fundamental,” said Mayorkas in a memo. “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.”
The paper adds:
The rules bind U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which makes arrests in the interior of the country, and the Border Patrol, which works along the nation’s boundaries.
ICE has always had a “sensitive locations” policy that puts churches, hospitals and schools off-limits for arrests, but the latest policy turns them into “protected areas” and adds massive sanctuaries where immigration agents and enforcement officers are told to stay out.
Among the new locations are any place children “gather.” Examples are playgrounds, day care facilities and school bus stops. Any social services location is also on the no-go list.
The DHS chief noted that ICE agents nearby those locations “can have the same restraining impact” on illegal aliens attempting to access services, so they can’t be in areas around bus stops and playgrounds, not just the specific locations. He added there is no “bright line definition” of the term “near,” so agents will have to use an “exercise of judgment.”
“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,” Mayorkas wrote.
He added that the new rules are not an outright ban but agents wanting to make arrests or serve documents in the protected areas would first have to get supervisory permission.
“It might have been easier for the Biden administration to list locations where immigration enforcement is actually allowed,” said Jon Feere, former chief of staff at ICE. “This is just the latest example of the Biden administration’s effort to dramatically curtail immigration enforcement by any means necessary.”
Immigration rights advocates have long demanded a wider net of protected places, the Times reported; Mayorkas’ rule appears to play into those demands.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., says there is little chance the more than 1.6 million migrants who have crossed illegally into the U.S. this year aren’t interested in “assimilating” into U.S. culture and norms.
“When you have more than 1.3 million people illegally crossing your border, they’re not assimilating, they’re not acclimating, and frankly, they’re actually not going to even show up for any of their hearings,” he told Fox News’ Mark Levin on Sunday.
He went on to note that under former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy — the Supreme Court says Biden must restart — illegal immigration was greatly reduced, adding that the current crisis is all on the present commander-in-chief.
“The Haitians have said it, people from other countries have said the exact same thing, that we’re coming to the border because the president of the United States has sent the signal that that is welcome, an opportunity to come across,” Scott said.
“Mark, this is unprecedented; that’s why you’ve never seen anything like this before. It makes your stomach turn, it makes you nauseous because we are the city on the hill. We are the bright, shining light for the world to see. If we can’t control our borders, no one else can,” he added.
““Here’s the truth. We had a president, under President Donald Trump, that wanted to secure our border. I supported and voted for more resources to build a wall so that you can control the inflow into your country. The fact is that the Remain in Mexico policy saw the border crisis plummet, the border crossings plummet. But under the Biden Administration, this is a Biden-made disaster,” he added.