The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that it would be rescinding previous enforcement guidelines for immigration action and replace it with a new "reforms," as DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called the gutting of feds' ability to protect communities from illegal immigrants.
Applying to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the new guidelines mandate that federal agents refrain from carrying out enforcement actions "in or near" places deemed "protected areas" defined as those "that would restrain people’s access to essential services or engagement in essential activities."
Today @SecMayorkas issued a new, comprehensive policy to guide @ICEgov and @CBP enforcement actions in or near protected areas, replacing guidance on enforcement at sensitive locations.https://t.co/CPmxl9RbgU— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) October 27, 2021
Examples listed in Mayorkas' announcement of the new protected areas include:
- Schools, such as known and licensed daycares, pre-schools, and other early learning programs; primary schools; secondary schools; post-secondary schools up to and including colleges and universities; as well as scholastic or education-related activities or events
- Medical treatment and healthcare facilities, including COVID-19 vaccination locations
- Places of worship or religious study, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples
- Places where children gather such as a playground, recreation center, childcare center, before- or after-school care center, foster care facility, group home for children, or school bus stop
- Social services establishments such as a crisis center, domestic violence shelter, victims services center, child advocacy center, supervised visitation center, family justice center, community-based organization, facility that serves disabled persons, homeless shelter, drug or alcohol counseling and treatment facility, or food bank or pantry or other establishment distributing food or other essentials of life to people in need
- Disaster or emergency response and relief centers
- Religious or civil ceremonies or observances, such as funerals and weddings
- Public demonstrations, such as parades, demonstrations, or rallies
It will apparently be up to DHS agents' personal "judgment to determine whether a location is a 'protected area' taking into consideration the activities that take place there, the importance of those activities to the well-being of people and the communities of which they are a part, and the impact an enforcement action would have on people’s willingness to be in the protected area and receive or engage in the essential services or activities that are offered there."
Mayorkas said of the announcement that reducing the ability of the agents under his purview to carry out their sworn duties is part of a "pursuit of justice," and that it's their responsibility on the job to "first examine and consider the impact of where actions might possibly take place, their effect on people, and broader societal interests."
It would make more sense to first consider what threats may be posed by illegal immigrants in a community — illicit drugs, human trafficking, etc. — rather than how the rest of the community might react to the rule of law being upheld, but in the Biden administration, so-called "social justice" comes before common sense.
This latest attempt to undermine homeland security by limiting the ability of federal agents to enforce America's immigration laws comes after an earlier edict that called for "prosecutorial discretion" in deciding which illegal aliens should be targeted for removal from the country. With that announcement, Mayorkas made clear that simply being in the United States illegally was not enough of a crime to warrant their removal.