The Biden administration is encouraging all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to get the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that federal immigration agencies will not conduct enforcement operations “at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics,” according to a Homeland Security statement.
The statement is a significant departure from the department’s tone under the Trump administration, which sought to clamp down on illegal immigration.
“DHS and its Federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the department said in a statement.
US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – two immigration enforcement agencies under DHS – usually refrain from enforcement actions when faced with extraordinary circumstances, like a hurricane, and at sensitive locations, like hospitals.
On Monday, the department said CBP and ICE will also not conduct enforcement operations “at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.”