What Are Protected Areas?

>> View the Spanish-translated fact sheet

Updated February 2022

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new policy on October 27, 2021, that restricts immigration enforcement actions at or near “protected areas.” The policy replaces the previous 2011 “sensitive locations” policy. This means that, except in limited circumstances, immigration agents should not conduct arrests, apprehensions, or other enforcement actions in or near certain locations. 

What are Protected Areas?

  • Schools, such as pre-schools, pre-kindergarten programs, Head Start programs, early care and education programs, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, after-care programs, and vocational or trade schools. Other education-related activities and events are also included in the policy, including school bus stops.
  • Places where children gather, such as child care programs, playgrounds, and recreation centers.
  • Medical treatment and health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ oces, accredited health clinics, emergent or urgent care facilities, community health centers, and vaccination and testing sites.
  • Places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples.
  • Religious or civil ceremonies or observances, such as funerals and weddings.
  • During public demonstrations, such as marches, rallies, or parades.
  • Places providing social services, including disaster or emergency response and relief, such as food banks and pantries, community-based organizations, and other shelters and centers that provide assistance. 

What this means for communities:

  • Community members and providers should notify staff, clients, and stakeholders if your location is considered a protected area. 
  • Community members and providers do not have to allow immigration officials into or near your location without a warrant if it is a protected area. 
  • Community members and providers should develop internal procedures in case of potential immigration enforcement actions and share them with staff, clients, and stakeholders. 
  • Enforcement actions at or near these locations can be reported to a local immigration or legal services organization.

For questions about the protected areas policy or if you believe the policy has been violated, contact Wendy Cervantes (WCervantes@clasp.org) at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). To learn more about CLASP, visit clasp2022.tealmedia.dev.

>> View the fact sheet here 

>> View the Spanish-translated fact here