Shaheen Continues Fight for NH Indonesian Community, Adds Provision to Appropriations Bill Requiring ICE to Explain to Congress How it Determines When to Deny Access to Public Federal Buildings

June 21, 2018

Shaheen’s Latest Effort on Behalf of the NH Indonesian Community Comes Days after She Called on ICE to Explain Why NH Clergy & Translator Are Banned from Manchester Federal Building

(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) added a provision to the Homeland Security Subcommittee Appropriations bill requiring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to explain to Congress how it complies with federal law requiring equal public access to federal buildings where ICE offices are located. Shaheen’s provision was adopted with bipartisan support and successfully included in the funding legislation that passed the full committee. Senator Shaheen’s latest effort comes on the heels of her letter to ICE and the Federal Protective Services (FPS), who recently banned the New Hampshire Council of Churches from supporting undocumented immigrants at ICE meetings in a federal building in Manchester.

“ICE’s decision to bar access to a public federal building without a clear explanation cannot go unquestioned,” said Shaheen. “As New Hampshire’s Indonesian community members navigate an intimidating immigration process, it’s important that they have access to their friends, families and support system. ICE’s decision to cut off admission to public space for advocates who offer pastoral support, without clear justification, is unacceptable. There needs to be transparency and accountability, and I’ll keep fighting on behalf of our community members to ensure they’re treated fairly under the law.”

Shaheen’s provision requires ICE to detail its policy for determining when it permanently denies an individual or group’s entrance, partially or entirely, to a public federal building. It also requests that ICE explain what specific security concerns or other criteria are used to justify denials and what procedures ICE field offices must follow to ensure compliance with the policy. Specifically, Shaheen’s provision directs ICE to deliver an analysis of how its Boston Field Office has implemented this policy over the past 18 months, including each instance of denied entry, to whom entry was denied, and what security or other justifications were used for the denials.

Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in Congress on behalf of New Hampshire’s Indonesian community. In 2012, Shaheen helped negotiate an agreement with ICE to allow Indonesian immigrants to remain in New Hampshire and obtain work permits in exchange for a commitment to regularly check in with ICE. This agreement was reversed by ICE under the Trump administration, and these individuals were ordered to begin making preparations for deportation.

Senator Shaheen has also questioned top Trump officials on the need to protect the New Hampshire Indonesian community, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Ambassador Jackie Walcott, a member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Ambassador Sam Brownback, who is the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

The Homeland Security Subcommittee Appropriations bill will next be considered by the full Senate.