The Official Website of the City of New York claims:

Federal enforcement officers, which includes ICE, cannot enter hospitals, schools, or shelters.

What exactly does this mean?

E.g., suppose an FBI agent pursues a bank robber and the latter runs into an NYC public school. Can the agent enter the school to arrest the robber?

PS. Federal enforcement officers, which includes ICE... - if it includes ICE, there must be some other Fed LEO who are also covered by the sentence. However, the page is only dedicated to Immigration, and ICE is the only Federal agency doing immigration enforcement. I guess this is merely sloppy editing.


2 Answers 2


It is dubious that this statement has any legal standing. The city comptroller promulgates immigrant-rights information which says the predictable things about the right to remain silent, asking if you are free to go, and so on in the form of a know your rights sheet. It correctly states that the city will not cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws, except when required by law. Executive order 41 prohibits the city from disclosing immigration-status information. The closest statement other that the claim in the OP is the section on public schools:

if a federal enforcement officer or immigration enforcement officer approaches a public school, the school will ask the officer for detailed information about the nature of the visit and whether the officer has any paperwork or warrants. The school will then instruct the officers to wait outside of the school building while school staff consult with attorneys at the New York City Department of Education (DOE). Public schools will not give any information to such officers or allow such officers to enter any schools unless it is absolutely required by law.

The statement that federal officers "cannot enter hospitals, schools, or shelters" is an exaggeration. With a warrant, they can enter, period. With permission of the owner, they can enter without a warrant (which will be denied in public school, but not automatically in all schools). Incidentally, their statement cannot be interpreted to mean that a federal law enforcement officer cannot seek medical assistance – this denial of permission to enter surely must be specifically restricted to "entering for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration law, when permission or a warrant is required".

The exact "non-cooperation" rules are set forth in Local Laws 58 and 59 of 2014.


The Jurisdiction of the U.S. Federal Government includes all territorial possessions of the United States, which has included New York City since 1776. Basically if it is considered a federal crime scene, then Federal Law Enforcement can enter with proper warrants from a Federal Judge.

New York City can certainly claim that, but when the conflict actually occurs, in all likelihood, the courts will overturn this. Typically though, the Feds are not paying for Hospitals, schools, or shelters as any public funding will come from the city or the state. And all three have private equivalent services which are not considered city or state property for the purposes of refusing entry. It might be argued that the Feds do not have permission for warrantless entry into a facility so ICE can't show up to PS whatever and check to see all students are lawful immigrants or citizens and are not part of an international smuggling ring (That would be the C part of ICE) without a warrant, but chasing a criminal into any building does not typically require a warrant to enter the building (since the immediate concern is a possibly armed individual having access to vulnerable innocent people).

  • If it is relevant, hospitals get funds from the feds - at least Medicare and many school districts get federal grants. No child left behind was enforced by withholding fed funds if I remember correctly. Dec 4, 2019 at 19:37
  • @GeorgeWhite: It wouldn't hurt the fed's case in trial if New York insists upon itself. Keep in mind, it's only a problem if it's actually enforced. Not if it is said. Courts cannot rule on hypothetical, there would have to be an actual legal question that the plaintiff (the Federal Government in this scenario) would be injured by.
    – hszmv
    Dec 4, 2019 at 19:58
  • I was just trying to indicate that your when your answer said that hospitals and schools did not get federal funding it was inaccurate. Dec 4, 2019 at 21:37
  • @GeorgeWhite whether a hospital or any facility receives funding from the federal government does not have any bearing on whether federal law enforcement officers can enter without a warrant to make an arrest. But I agree that most hospitals -- and I suppose most public schools -- benefit from federal funds.
    – phoog
    Dec 4, 2019 at 23:14
  • As I said, I was correcting an erroneous statement in the answer, not commenting on the question Dec 5, 2019 at 0:50

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