Recognizing the sensitivity of schools and certain other locations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintain a policy that provides ICE and CBP will not engage in immigration enforcement in sensitive locations, like schools, absent prior approval by a supervisor or exigent circumstances.[1] The Department of Homeland Security recently reaffirmed this policy.[2] This means that ICE and CBP generally will not arrest, interview, search, or surveil a person for immigration enforcement purposes while at a school, a known school bus stop, or an educational activity.[3]

What You Need to Know

If you witness ICE or CBP within your school:

Things to Note

Schools can take a number of additional steps to safeguard the right of equal access to education for immigrant students and all students.

  • Communicating with families that all students are welcome in public schools, including through the adoption of a resolution,[6] can go a long way in assuaging community fears and strengthening the school community. 
  • Educators can also adopt a number of practices to instill a positive school climate.[7]

[1] U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Sensitive Locations FAQs,

[2] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Q&A: DHS Implementation of the Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement (Feb. 21, 2017)(“Q28: The implementation guidance references rescinding all previous immigration enforcement memos. Does this include the ICE and CBP memorandum on sensitive locations? A28: No, the sensitive locations guidance remains in effect for both ICE and CBP.”),

[3] Specifically, the sensitive locations memo includes these locations: “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, and school bus stops that are marked and/or known to the officer, during periods when school children are present at the stop . . .” U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Sensitive Locations FAQs,

[4] Compare See v. City of Seattle, 387 U.S. 541 (1967) (administrative warrant not sufficient to allow entry to non-public areas of business), with Blackie’s House of Beef, Inc. v. Castillo & INS, 659 F.2d 1211, 1218-19 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (discussing probable cause standard for warrant issued by neutral magistrate).

[5] See ICE, Sensitive Locations FAQs,

[6] See National Immigration Law Center, Model Campus Safe Zones Resolution Language (K-12) (Dec. 2016),

[7] TESOL has compiled numerous resources for supporting immigrant and refugee students. See TESLO, Resources on Immigration and Refugee Concerns, The National School Climate Center also provides many resources for developing positive school climate. See National School Climate Center,