Why are ICE and Border Protection vehicles on the BBCC campus?

BBCC Facts & Frequently Asked Questions

As a public institution of higher education, Big Bend Community College strives to provide a safe, secure, and welcoming teaching and learning environment for all. BBCC complies with all Federal and State laws governing the privacy of student records including the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), House Bill 1079 (in-state tuition for eligible students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents), and the Real Hope Act (SB6523 – Washington State Financial Aid for eligible students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents).

Facts & Frequently Asked Questions

Why are ICE & Border Protection vehicles on the BBCC Campus?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and US Customs and Border Protection vehicles may be on campus when agency employees are testing for their employers. Big Bend is a certified testing location for US Customs and Border Protection. Vehicles from both agencies may also be on campus during job and career fairs, class presentations and community events.

ICE considers Big Bend Community College a sensitive location.

Sensitive locations are places where certain enforcement actions of immigration agents, such as ICE officers, are restricted. Sensitive locations include, but are not limited to: schools, hospitals, places of worship and public demonstrations. This is an ICE policy.

What is considered an enforcement action at a sensitive location?

Enforcement actions covered by this policy are apprehensions, arrests, interviews, or searches, and for purposes of immigration enforcement only, surveillance. Actions not covered by this policy include activities such as obtaining records, documents, and similar materials from officials or employees, providing notice to officials or employees, serving subpoenas, engaging in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) compliance and certification visits, guarding or securing detainees, or participating in official functions or community meetings.

Will enforcement actions ever occur at sensitive locations?

  • Enforcement actions may occur at sensitive locations in limited circumstances, but will generally be avoided. ICE officers and agents may conduct an enforcement action at a sensitive location if there are exigent circumstances if other law enforcement actions have led officers to a sensitive location, or with prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official.

When may enforcement action be carried out at a sensitive location without prior approval?

  • ICE officers and agents may carry out an enforcement action at a sensitive location without prior approval from a supervisor in exigent circumstances related to national security, terrorism, or public safety, or where there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to an ongoing criminal case. When proceeding with an enforcement action under exigent circumstances, officers and agents must conduct themselves as discreetly as possible, consistent with officer and public safety, and make every effort to limit the time at or focused on the sensitive location.
  • Exigent circumstances: An emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect, or destruction of evidence.

Employee Guidelines
Big Bend policy on sharing student information with Law Enforcement

Students should be reassured that they can safely participate in a college education at Big Bend without the College collecting or sharing immigration information in situations not required by law. If anyone is approached by a federal enforcement agent, please immediately contact the President’s Office at (509) 793-2001 or come to the Presidential Suite on the second floor of the Administration Building (1400).

To ensure clarity across campus, please review the following informational items:

  • We do not share immigration information with federal enforcement agents unless required to do so by law, which will usually involve a lawful subpoena or warrant.
      • To ensure an appropriate response, the College consults with legal counsel in response to all immigration-related subpoenas and/or warrants.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents need a valid warrant to enter non-public areas such as classrooms, offices, and areas that are only for students/staff.
      • In all cases where ICE is seeking access to non-public areas of campus, college officials can ask to see a warrant. Valid warrants will:
          • Be signed by a judge
          • Properly identify the agency with the authority to search
          • Correctly identify the search location
          • Include the correct date which has not expired
  • We do not collect immigration information from students for the purpose of assisting immigration officials.
      • Inquiries related to immigration status, place of birth or citizenship, are prohibited except where required by law.
  • Campus Safety & Security will not request such information or ask questions to students regarding immigration status or citizenship.

Direct questions regarding this information to a member of the Executive Team at any time or call the President’s Office at (509) 793-2001.

Can Big Bend Community College prevent federal immigration enforcement officers from coming on campus?

Generally, no.  BBCC is a public college and a large portion of BBCC property is open to the public.  BBCC does not have the authority to prohibit federal immigration enforcement officers from coming on campus to enforce federal law. The areas on campus that are open to the public are also open to federal immigration enforcement officers.

However, public access is limited in certain areas of the BBCC campus and property because of privacy concerns, operational needs or safety considerations. Campus buildings and spaces in which access is physically restricted, such as locked doors or monitored entryways, including campus housing and fall into this category.  Limited access spaces also include some that may normally be left unlocked during the workday, including, for example,  administrative or faculty offices, classrooms while classes are in session, locker rooms, research laboratories, kitchens, and food preparation areas, maintenance areas, storage facilities, and physical plant operations. 

BBCC employees are not required to affirmatively assist federal immigration authorities or grant permission to enter limited access space when officers do not have a judicial warrant to enter.  However, federal law prohibits you from hiding evidence, concealing or hiding individuals who are the subjects of law enforcement activity, or interfering with an arrest.  Further, you should not put yourself in physical danger.

If an immigration officer seeks your consent to enter limited access space or requests information or documents from you about another individual, take steps to ensure that you have the authority to provide the requested access, information or documents.  Ask the officer for their name, identification number, and agency affiliation; ask for a copy of any warrant they may have, inform the officer that you are not obstructing their process but need to contact Administrative personnel. 

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