Enforcement Actions At or Focused On Sensitive Locations

Immigration policy continues to dominate the news. Many concerned people have reached out to us to ask questions. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are one of the frequent topics people have questions about. In this post, we will cover what are known as “sensitive locations”. All information here is taken directly from the official website of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Sensitive Locations

In terms of U.S. immigration policy, “sensitive location” means places to avoid making arrests. ICE considers the following places sensitive locations:

Schools (including pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools up to and including colleges and universities, and other institutions of learning such as vocational or trade schools);

  • Hospitals;

  • Churches, synagogues, mosques or other institutions of worship, such as buildings rented for the purpose of religious services;

  • The site of a funeral, wedding, or other public religious ceremony; and

  • A site during the occurrence of a public demonstration, such as a march, rally or parade .

In addition to these places, ICE employees are instructed to exercise caution with any organization assisting children, pregnant women, victims of crime or abuse, or individuals with significant mental or physical disabilities. There are exceptions to special locations which are shared below.

What Enforcement Actions Are Covered

The following actions ARE NOT allowed to take place in sensitive locations:

  • Arrests

  • Interviews

  • Searches

  • (For purposes of immigration enforcement only) Surveillance

The following actions ARE allowed to take place in sensitive locations:

  • Obtaining records, documents, and similar materials from officials or employees

  • Providing notice to officials or employees

  • Serving subpoenas

  • Engaging in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) compliance and certification visits

  • Participating in official function or community meetings

Exceptions to Special Locations

Lastly, there are exceptions to the special locations rule. ICE officers and agents may carry out an enforcement action in a special location without prior approval from headquarters when one of the following exigent circumstances exists:

  • The enforcement action involves a national security or terrorism matter;

  • There is an imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person or property;

  • The enforcement action involves the immediate arrest or pursuit of a dangerous felon, terrorist suspect, or any other individual(s) that present an imminent danger to public safety;

  • There is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to an ongoing criminal case.

If you have questions about special locations, ICE, or any general immigration needs, please contact us. We offer free consultations at our eight office locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.