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ICE establishes enforcement policy at courthouses

  1. Date Announced

    Jan. 10, 2018

    ICE issues a directive on enforcement actions in courthouses: such enforcement is acceptable for certain classes of immigrants, such as those with criminal convictions or gang affiliations. [ID #294]

    See Biden administration action below .

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Jan. 10, 2018
  3. Subsequent Action

    September 1, 2020

    “It is not for us to say whether ICE’s strategy is sound public policy,” noted U.S. Circuit Judge Bruce Selya. “That question lies within the domain of the politically accountable branches of the federal and state governments.”

    First Circuit Lifts Block of ICE Arrests at Massachusetts Courthouses
  4. Subsequent Action

    May 8, 2021

    ICE released new FAQs on sensitive locations and courthouse arrests.

    FAQs (Sensitive Locations, Courthouse Arrests)
  5. Subsequent Action

    June 24, 2021

    From Law360: "The First Circuit stood by its decision to wipe a lower court ruling that had blocked federal immigration authorities from making arrests in and around Massachusetts courthouses, ruling Thursday that the Biden administration's decision to curb many such arrests does not render the case moot."

    ** Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    2021.06.24 Law360: 1st Circ. Won't Nix Its Ruling On ICE Courthouse Arrests
  6. Biden Administration Action

    April 27, 2021

    This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On April 27, 2021, ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson and CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller issued a memorandum to ICE and CBP personnel identifying limited circumstances in which civil immigration enforcement actions may be carried out in or near a courthouse.

    The memo provides that “[a] civil immigration enforcement action may be taken in or near a courthouse if (1) it involves a national security threat, or (2) there is an imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person, or (3) it involves hot pursuit of an individual who poses a threat to public safety, or (4) there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to a criminal case.”

    The memo specifies that its guidance does not apply to criminal immigration enforcement actions, but nevertheless advises that “personnel should determine whether such an action truly needs to be taken in or near the courthouse given its potentially adverse impact upon access to justice.”

    Civil Immigration Enforcement Actions in or near Courthouses
  7. Biden Administration Action

    April 27, 2021

    This DHS announcement unveiled the above Biden administration policy action.

    2021.04.27 DHS Announces New Guidance to Limit ICE and CBP Civil Enforcement Actions In or Near Courthouse


Judges Ask ICE to Make Courts Off Limits To Immigration Arrests

A group of dozens of former state and federal judges is asking ICE to add courthouses to the list of "sensitive locations" where their officers generally do not go.

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