The Law Office of Mana Yegani
IMMIGRATION LAWYER Call Today: 832-391-8813 Call or Text: 832-904-3744 Se Habla Español

What does ICE consider ‘sensitive locations’?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement often takes enforcement actions, such as making arrests, in public places. For example, it is common for suspected undocumented immigrants to be detained at airports, such as the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU).

However, there are some places that ICE considers “sensitive locations,” and agents typically do not make arrests or take other enforcement actions here. ICE considers sensitive locations to be:

  • Schools and licensed day cares
  • Hospitals
  • Places of worship
  • Weddings, funerals and other religious ceremonies
  • Public demonstrations

One location that is noticeably missing from the list is courthouses.

ICE issues new directive on courthouse arrests

Last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a new directive instructing agents to not arrest suspected undocumented immigrants in family courts and other non-criminal courts. They were also instructed to only make arrests at courthouses when the arrests involved:

  • Specific, targeted aliens with criminal convictions
  • Gang members
  • National security or public safety threats
  • Aliens who have been ordered removed from the United States but have failed to depart
  • Aliens who have re-entered the country illegally after being removed

The directive was released after troubling instances of ICE arrests at courthouses, such as domestic abuse victims being arrested while visiting court to obtain protective orders. In one case in El Paso, Texas, it was the abuser who tipped-off ICE agents on the victim’s whereabouts before she was arrested.

Advocates for victims of domestic violence said this arrest, in particular, caused abuse victims to avoid getting help from the police and the courts.

It is a positive step that ICE released the directive regarding courthouses, but many say it is not enough and that agents are already not following it.

ICE agents still making arrests at courthouses

Last week, the Houston Chronicle editorial board wrote about a 47-year-old man who was detained by ICE after appearing at a Harris County Criminal Court in Houston to face a misdemeanor charge. The man did not meet any of the criteria in the new ICE directive but was arrested anyway.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice
  • The National Advocates | Top 100 Lawyers | America's Premier Attorneys
  • State Bar of Texas | Created in 1939
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2014 | Criminal Defense
  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2015 | Immigration
  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2016 | Immigration
  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2017 | Immigration
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
Email Us For A Response

Let Us Help You Stay In The USA

Ask About Our Consultation Specials

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

The Law Office of Mana Yegani
1221 Studewood Street, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77008

Fax: 281-674-8320
Map & Directions