Potential Remedies for DHS Enforcement at Sensitive or Protected Locations

Potential Remedies for DHS Enforcement at Sensitive or Protected Locations

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild recently released a practice advisory concerning immigration enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at certain sensitive locations. In the past, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has operated pursuant to a DHS directive to avoid enforcement actions at sensitive locations, such as schools, courthouse, and churches. With the new administration’s emphasis on increased immigration enforcement, these sensitive locations now appear to have no protection from ICE. News stories have detailed the ICE arrests of a father dropping his daughter off at school and a domestic violence victim being detained after attending a court hearing in a courthouse. Given the current fear that is permeating the undocumented population, the failure to avoid sensitive locations only adds to that fear and simply makes immigrants fearful about reporting crimes, or even sending their children to school. However, there are some federal laws and regulations that do help protect immigrants in these sensitive locations. Although these provisions are rarely observed by ICE or enforced, they are some potential tools for protecting immigrants from detention while in sensitive locations. For instance, with only a few narrow exceptions, DHS cannot base immigration enforcement on a tip from an abuser or his or her family. This means that if an ICE agent arrests an immigrant in certain circumstances, he or she must certify that the arrest is not based on a tip from the abuser. This certification requirement is mandated when an arrest occurs at a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, supervised visitation center, family justice center, victim services provider, or community-based organization. Similarly, the certification requirement applies when an immigrant is appearing at a courthouse for the purposes of a protection order case, child custody case, or any civil or criminal case that involves domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, or stalking, in which the immigrant has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty. The bottom line is that if an ICE agent fails to comply with this certification requirement in the appropriate circumstances, there are avenues of recourse. Individuals who are detained and/or facing deportation need an experienced California immigration attorney who can assist them with this often complex process. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we know how to stand up for the rights of those who are legally entitled to remain in the U.S. Call us today at (510) 756-4468 and schedule an appointment with one of our deportation defense lawyers, and learn how we can assist you.
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