Follow the Yellow Brick Road…To the Nearest “Safe Zone”

News outlets in the United States have developed a habit of representing bad policy decisions made by the Obama administration as binding law. In particular, they love to portray the Department of Homeland Security’s “sensitive locations” policies as some kind of civil rights bedrock. But, as FAIR has repeatedly pointed out, those policies were put in place to protect agents as they perform their duties, not to create “safe zones” where illegal aliens receive a de facto amnesty.

NPR seems especially dedicated to perpetuating the “safe zones” myth. In a misleading piece that is highly critical of the Border Patrol, the taxpayer funded news outlet claims: “Border Patrol Arrests Parents While Infant Awaits Serious Operation.” That headline implies that the Border Patrol kept an infant from receiving needed medical treatment, simply because his parents are illegal aliens.

Only, that isn’t what happened: Oscar and Irma Sanchez are illegal aliens living in Texas. Their son, Isaac, needed surgery to correct a digestive condition. But the local hospital couldn’t perform the operation. And the only route to a hospital that could do the surgery passed through a permanent Border Patrol checkpoint.

NPR claims that a nurse at the local hospital reported the family to the Border Patrol, because agents showed up in the waiting room. Although, it is much more likely that a diligent hospital staff member called U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure that the ambulance transferring Isaac wasn’t delayed at the checkpoint.

In any case, the Border Patrol arrived… and escorted the family to the surgical hospital in Corpus Christi. Then the Border Patrolmen… waited patiently while the required surgery was performed. Afterward… they let the Sanchez family return to their North Brownsville home.

By NPR’s own account, Little Isaac got the medical attention he needed. The Border Patrol was both professional and humane. And the Sanchez family remains in the U.S., pending a hearing before the Immigration Court. So what’s the gripe? In a word, Borders.

NPR believes in a borderless world. It simply can’t conceive of the notion that illegal migration is actually a violation of the law. Therefore, it’s willing to demonize the Border Patrol and portray the United States as an oppressive nation with a draconian law enforcement system, in order to further its no borders narrative. And that narrative includes the bizarre notion that people who are unlawfully present in the U.S. have unqualified immunity from the law in certain “sensitive locations.”

Of course, the important question is the one that NPR never asks: why did the Sanchez family violate the law to live in the U.S.? One suspects that compassionate law enforcement officers, quality medical care, a fair system of courts, and decent jobs are in short supply wherever they hail from. It’s too bad the mainstream media doesn’t understand that creating zones of amnesty throughout the U.S. erodes the very peace and prosperity that attract immigrants to our shores in the first place.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    National Public Radio (NPR)
    was looking for a story of hospital safe-zones being violated.
    But they did not find a good example.

    Instead they found a story of COOPERATION between
    the Border Patrol and the family using hospital services.

    The unauthorized parents agreed to surrender
    if their child could still get medical care.
    And that is exactly the way it came down.
    The foreign family got medical care.
    And they also got a court date
    before an immigration judge.

    This was NOT a violation of the safe-zone policy
    for hospitals, schools, and courts.

    Such a violation would be (for example)
    a recently-pregnant women from Mexico
    taken into custody against her will at a Texas hospital,
    where she had just given birth to a new U.S. citizen by birth.

    Immigration law would permit such an arrest
    because the woman is a foreign national
    present in the United States without permission.

    But announced policy and practice
    would not allow the ICE police to patrol the hallways
    of hospitals on the Texas border with Mexico
    in order to arrest Mexican woman coming to the USA to give birth.

  2. avatar

    The one thing you also didnt mention is the cost of this operation. Who paid for it? probably the American taxpayers of which you just came out with a report that says we are paying $119 billion a year net and going up every year.

    US citizens would be hounded to pay the cost of that operation while illegals just act like they are entitled to it.

  3. avatar
    Not Politically Correct on

    If illegal immigrants can have “safe zones” then why can’t drug dealers, bank robbers and murderers? After all they’re breaking the law as well.

  4. avatar

    I think we have a very balanced media, both print and broadcast. They’re divided between Democrats who hate Trump and Republicans who hate Trump. Look at Ana Navarro. She’s presented as a “Republican strategist” on CNN and shows like the View. But she’s donated over $18,000 in the last 20 years to Democratic candidates and PACs. She voted for Hillary and in 2006 she donated to and held fundraisers for Senator Bob Menendez, currently on trial on bribery charges. Although you would not know he’s on trial because the media is soft pedaling it. Even though Menendez is a Democrat, she told the NY Times in 2006 that even though she wanted a Republican Senate majority she did not want it to be at “the expense of losing” Menendez. He won and the Democrats took a razor thin control of the Senate.

    Just look at the Sunday talk shows when the Republican “opposition” is frequently Trump critics like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Maxine Waters keeps babbling on about Trump and white nationalists but she, and the media, ignore the fact that DNC vice chairman Keith Ellison was a passionate defender for a decade of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who is a virulent bigot and anti Semite. Or the fact that Robert Byrd was a Democratic leader in the Senate up until his death in 2010 in spite of his being a recruiter for the K K K in his youth. You can’t walk a mile in West Virginia without running into something named for him, but I guess they won’t be renaming those.