Culture

Lawmakers Call For An Investigation After ICE Agents Mistake A U.S. Citzen For An Undocumented Immigrant

(Note: The above video arrives with a warning for harsh language.)

The last few months have seen a number of stories of ICE agents mistakenly detaining people or using new tactics in order to sweep up undocumented immigrants. An Oregon man became the latest person to be harassed by ICE agents after he was confronted by agents who did not identify themselves as ICE and accused the man, a U.S. citizen, of being in the country illegally.

The Oregonian details what happened, along with the fallout:

U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer said they were “greatly disturbed” by Isidro Andrade-Tafolla’s account of what happened after he and his wife left the Washington County Courthouse on Monday morning. Andrade-Tafolla is a U.S. citizen who has worked for the county for almost 20 years in road maintenance.

The Democrats sent a letter to Elizabeth Godfrey, a regional supervisor for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations based in Portland, saying they hope the agency apologizes to Andrade-Tafolla.

According to the video, Andrade-Tafolla was approached (while walking to his car) by two agents in plain clothes after a demonstration against the arrest of undocumented immigrants ended. The agents showed Andrade-Tafolla a photo of different Latino man, and they told Andrade-Tafolla that he was the man in the photo. The agents backed off after a third agent arrived on the scene and said they had the wrong man.

Andrade-Tafolla, who came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1981, became a citizen in 1996. “I think it’s important to show people that this could happen to anyone,” he said.

In response, a spokesperson for ICE said that agents are not required to identify themselves if they are in a potentially dangerous situation.

However, Oregon ACLU argues against this practice: “ICE can’t just go around stopping anyone who looks Latino and asking them to show their papers. This is America.” The organization has previously lobbied the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to stop ICE agents from arresting people at courthouses in the state. The tactic erodes trust with law enforcement and the judicial system, the organization says.

Several people in the local government agree. Washington County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton said the courthouse must remain “a safe place for every witness and every victim whether they are or not a citizen, to ensure full access to justice without fear.”

(Via The Oregonian)

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