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Senators Call For Investigation Into Reported Violations Of Sensitive Locations Policy

on November 29, 2017 - 5:11am
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and a group of 16 senators have called for an investigation into apparent ongoing violations of federal policies regarding immigration enforcement at sensitive locations like schools, hospitals and religious institutions.  
The senators’ letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan details the reported detention of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was stopped by immigration authorities on her way to the hospital for gallbladder surgery. Armed agents later reportedly arrested her directly from her hospital bed as she was recovering from the surgery. 
“If these reports are accurate, these actions are not only horrifying—they are also an egregious violation of established department policy,” the senators wrote. “We ask that the department launch an investigation into possible violations of the sensitive locations policy.”
In October, following a National Public Radio report on the parents of a two-month-old baby who were apprehended at a hospital while seeking lifesaving medical care for their son, Udall and a group of 20 senators wrote Duke to seek answers about the department’s current immigration enforcement policies. The senators have not yet received a response to their inquiry.
Udall has cosponsored legislation in the Senate, authored by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), to prevent immigration enforcement officers from taking enforcement actions at sensitive locations without prior approval and exigent circumstances.
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.
The full text of the senators’ letter is available here.