Blumenthal: Halt immigration action in sensitive places

October 22, 2017 GMT

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, and a group of 19 other Democratic senators are demanding a halt to recent federal immigration enforcement at sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals and religious institutions.

“We have heard reports of ICE agents apprehending undocumented immigrants in sensitive locations and other critical sites that provide basic services,” Blumenthal and the senators told Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke in a letter.

“Agents have reportedly arrested a father while he dropped off his children at school, a domestic violence victim at a courthouse, and a group of men exiting a church shelter, among others,” Blumenthal said. “These reports have generated fear in immigrant communities, leading some families to cancel medical appointments or not send their children to school.”

In September, National Public Radio reported that the parents of a two-month-old baby were apprehended at a hospital while seeking lifesaving medical care for their son.

Blumenthal is the author of legislation that would prevent immigration enforcement officers from taking enforcement actions at sensitive locations. The Protecting Sensitive Locations Act codifies the Department of Homeland Security’s existing policies and expands on those policies to ensure that immigrants are able to access education, criminal justice, and social services without fear of deportation.

The legislation is based on an amendment that Blumenthal included in the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in 2013.