HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — Church leaders in Washington County said they’re trying to draw attention to the methods immigration enforcement agents are using to arrest undocumented immigrants.
There have been claims ICE agents have detained people without warrants. Observers from the ACLU were on hand to see what was really happening at an early Monday morning rally in Hillsboro.
A Monday rally at the Washington County Courthouse was organized by people concerned about the next generation of immigrants in America and also alarmed by what they say is a climate of fear spreading across the country.
They’re angered and hurt by the Trump administration proposal to end DACA, the Obama program that shields from deportation around 800,000 immigrants brought to the US as children.
Now they claim Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents are arresting undocumented people here at the courthouse — sometimes when targets of the arrests are here doing something as routine as paying parking tickets.
“It’s chaotic. There’s no accountability,” said Yanely Rivas with Unite Oregon. “There’s no warrants being shown and that’s what we’re here for.”
Observers from the American Civil Liberties Union have been here in recent weeks — including Monday morning — observing ICE arrests and documenting arrests to see if they’re being done legally.
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Virginia Kice, the Western Regional Communications Director for ICE, said:
“Last Monday (Sept. 11), ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations) deportation officers traveled to the Washington County courthouse to obtain further information regarding two individuals who were being targeted for arrest based upon their criminal and immigration histories. Both of the male arrest targets had recently been arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants and subsequently admitted to the charge. Additionally both men had previously been arrested and repatriated after entering the U.S. illegally. After confirming their identities, the ERO deportation officers waited until the two men had departed the courthouse premises before taking them into custody.
“ICE is aware the officers’ actions Monday were being monitored and videotaped by private citizens. In performing their sworn duties, ICE officers conduct themselves in accordance with the authorities conveyed to them under federal law and the Constitution. Individuals who intervene in or seek to impede ICE officers while they are carrying out their mission recklessly endanger not only the enforcement personnel, but also the individuals targeted for arrest and potentially innocent bystanders. Those who engage in such actions run the risk of harming the very people they purport to support.”
Hillsboro City Councilor Olivia Alcaire said she sees an attack on Latinos she’s never seen in America, an attack she said is aimed at good, hard working people who are here.
She also said the threatened end of the Obama DACA program pulls the rug out from under people who’ve done what they’ve been asked in trying to get citizenship.
“These folks have been filling out applications and following all the requirements they need to remain eligible to remain in the program so they can go to school and work,” Alcaire said.
It’s a symbolic gathering intended to send a welcoming and inviting message to people who’ve been seeking legal standing who now find themselves under siege.