Right-Wing Media Outraged That Border Patrol Won’t Arrest Immigrants In Schools, Churches, And Hospitals 

ICE “Sensitive Locations” Immigration Policy Forbids Arrests In Locations That May Hurt Public Safety 

Right-wing media attacked the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s “sensitive location” policy, which forbids border patrol officers from surveilling and arresting immigrants in locations such as churches, hospitals, and schools, without prior authorization as “lawlessness” and accused the agency of “advising” illegal immigrants on how to avoid arrest.

U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement Enacts “Sensitive Locations Policy”

U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement Announces Policy. In a 2011 memorandum to field officers, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) detailed its sensitive locations policy, which forbade customs officers from conducting arrests, interviews, searches, and surveillance in “sensitive locations” such as schools, hospitals, churches and public protests. From the memorandum:

The enforcement actions covered by this policy are (1) arrests; (2) interviews; (3) searches; and (4) for purposes of immigration enforcement only, surveillance. Actions not covered by this policy include actions such as 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. or participating in official functions or community meetings.

The sensitive locations covered by this policy include. but are not limited to, the following:

• 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. [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 10/24/11]

“Absolute Lawlessness”: Right-Wing Media Freak Over Policy

Fox’s Trish Regan Reports Illegal Immigrants Evading Arrest Are “Getting Help” From Border Patrol. Fox host Trish Regan and guest Paul Babeu reported that undocumented immigrants hiding from police are “getting help from the U.S. Border Patrol.” Regan and Babeu criticized Obama for the creation of the sensitive locations policy and for “telling everyone where they are”:

TRISH REGAN (HOST): Illegal immigrants hoping to avoid capture are now getting help from the U.S. Border Patrol? An advocacy advisory on the agency's own website offers a whole list of places that are off-limits for agents to search. Those include schools, churches, hospitals, and protests. It's all part of the Department of Homeland Security's sensitive locations policy and sheriff Paul Babeu from Pinal County, Arizona, says you know what? It's just plain old ridiculous. Sheriff, good to see you.

PAUL BABEU: Good to see you.

REGAN: What bothers you the most about all this?

BABEU: This continues the march of President Obama for absolute lawlessness. Not only there's a lack of enforcement or consequences for law, now he's provided actual sanctuaries throughout the entire country, not just cities, throughout the entire country, of no-go places for us in law enforcement to enforce the law. Our heroes in the border patrol.

REGAN: He’s not only putting them out there, he's telling everyone where they are as well.

BABEU: Absolutely.

REGAN: So if you’re an illegal immigrant you know you can go to X, Y, or Z for shelter. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 8/2/16]

Sean Hannity: Government Is “Actually Advising” Illegal Immigrants Where To Cross. Sean Hannity asked his guest Newt Gingrich if Trump should focus on his “hallmark issues” like border security and said that the U.S. Border Protection Agency was “advertising safe zones where illegals” can enter the United States:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Would it be good advice for Donald Trump to focus in these remaining 97 days until Election Day on jobs, the economy, protecting the homeland, and, by the way, other issues that have become the hallmark of his campaign, like border security, et cetera. I don’t know if you know this -- story out today that U.S. Border Protection Agency is advertising safe zones where illegals can cross. We’re actually advising them where to cross. And all this talk about taking in refugees, did you know that this year alone Obama took in 6,877 Syrian refugees, 6,834 were either Sunni, Shia, or just generic Muslim, and we seem to already be discriminating against Syrians if they are Christian, because as we know and we’ve been chronicling, there’s been genocide against Christians and the world barely pays attention to it.

NEWT GINGRICH: Exactly. That’s why you have to recognize -- and the fact that they just announced that they’re going to give 18 months of sanctuary to 8,700 Syrian refugees. You have to ask yourself the question, why is it that they're willing to risk American lives on behalf of people about whom we know nothing? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/2/16]

Fox News Reports Obama Administration Is Giving Illegal Immigrants “Advice” On “How To Avoid Being Caught.” Bret Baier reported that the Obama administration’s border enforcement website offered advice “to illegal immigrants about how to avoid being caught,” citing the sensitive locations policy that bars officers from “interviewing, searching or arresting” suspects in places such as churches and schools:

BRET BAIER (HOST): Critics are calling the Obama administration’s approach to border enforcement schizophrenic over the advice on the border patrol's own website to illegal immigrants about how to avoid being caught. It has to do with “safe zones,” where agents are barred from interviewing, searching ,or arresting suspected illegal immigrants. Such places as schools, churches and medical treatment facilities are listed on that website. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/2/16]

Policy Provides Officers Means Of Enforcement And Enhances “Public Understanding And Trust”

Sensitive Locations Policy Provides Exceptions And Serves Public Purpose. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website states a customs officer may carry out enforcement actions at sensitive locations if he receives prior approval from a supervisor or faces “exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action.” The department stated the sensitive location policy is “meant to ensure that ICE and CBP officers and agents exercise sound judgment” and to “ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so, without fear or hesitation.” From the department website:

The policies provide that enforcement actions at or focused on sensitive locations such as schools, places of worship, and hospitals should generally be avoided, and that such actions may only take place when (a) prior approval is obtained from an appropriate supervisory official, or (b) there are exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action without supervisor approval. The policies are meant to ensure that ICE and CBP officers and agents exercise sound judgment when enforcing federal law at or focused on sensitive locations, to enhance the public understanding and trust, and to ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so, without fear or hesitation.


ICE and CBP officers may carry out an enforcement action at a sensitive location without prior approval from a supervisor in exigent circumstances related to national security, terrorism, or public safety, or where there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to an ongoing criminal case. [U.S. Customs and Border Protection, accessed 8/2/16]