Background

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, https://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc

[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.”), https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/02/21/qa-dhs-implementation-executive-order-border-security-and-immigration-enforcement.

[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, https://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc.

[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, https://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc.

[6] See National Immigration Law Center, Model Campus Safe Zones Resolution Language (K-12) (Dec. 2016), https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-enforcement/campus-safe-zones-la....

[7] TESOL has compiled numerous resources for supporting immigrant and refugee students. See TESLO, Resources on Immigration and Refugee Concerns, http://www.tesol.org/advance-the-field/advocacy-resources/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, http://www.schoolclimate.org/.

 

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