The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement adopted a policy in 2011 under then Director John Morton, to keep ICE agents from focusing enforcement on certain “sensitive” areas.

The policy deters ICE agents from making arrests, conducting interviews, searches and surveillance at sensitive locations.

The policy does not include collecting officials documents, serving subpoenas, or conducing compliance visits among other things.

Those areas considered sensitive include churches, schools including colleges and universities, hospitals, funerals, weddings, religious ceremonies, or at other public demonstrations according to a October 24, 2011 memorandum.

ICE agents are asked to consult their supervisor about other locations that could be reasonably considered sensitive.

The policy allows ICE operations to take place at one of those locations if prior approval is given from agency administrators.

“ICE will give special consideration to requests for enforcement actions at or near sensitive locations if the only known address of a target is at or near a sensitive location,” the 2011 memo reads.

ICE agents may without prior approval, carry out enforcement at these locations in certain circumstances those include:

  • Enforcement involving national security or terrorism
  • Imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to people or property
  • Pursuit or arrest of a dangerous felon, suspected terrorist, or any person that could be a danger to the public
  • Situations where destruction of evidence in a criminal case could happen

The policy does not prohibit law enforcement operations when there is an immediate need for enforcement.

It does not make the policy a law, right, or enforceable under civil or criminal law. According to the memo, it is not intended to condone violations of federal law.