ICE won't make immigration enforcement arrests at COVID-19 vaccination sites, federal officials say

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government says it won't conduct immigration enforcement arrests at or near coronavirus vaccination sites around the country.

In a statement Monday, the Department of Homeland Security said vaccine sites will be considered "sensitive locations" and will not be targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents except in "extraordinary circumstances."

"DHS and its Federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants," DHS said. "It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine."

DHS says it encourages everyone "regardless of immigration status" to get vaccinated when they are eligible under local rules.

ICE has previously included health care facilities as well as churches among the sensitive locations where arrests would generally not be carried out.

The department also says they will be working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up temporary or pop-up vaccination sites.

RELATED: Biden halts U.S.-Mexico border wall; immigrants cheered by possible citizenship path
EMBED More News Videos

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden shared a plan to provide a path to U.S. citizenship for about 11 million people without legal status, which would impact many in Southern California.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.