HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — A Latino Washington County man says he was racially profiled by immigration agents outside the courthouse Monday afternoon just steps away from a demonstration against that very action.
Isidro Andrade-Tafolla is a United States citizen and has been for more than 20 years. But on September 18, he says he wasn’t treated like one.
Video from the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon shows Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents corning Andrade-Tafolla outside the Washington County courthouse. They were pressing him for his name and identification, even though he had done nothing wrong.
“Then the lady said, ‘can we get your ID? Do you have ID with you?’ I said ‘yeah I got ID but…who are you?'” Andrade-Tafolla told KOIN 6 News.
He said he had no idea what was going on and the agents, who were dressed in street clothes, never told him they were with ICE.
“This is crazy. This is insulting. Disturbing. It’s wrong. Get out of here,” he told KOIN.
Eventually the agents explained to Andrade-Tafolla that they thought he was someone else who they were looking to detain. When they showed him a photo of their suspect, Andrade-Tafolla said the man looked nothing like him.
“Clearly brown skin. No resemblance. Other than the skin color,” Andrade-Tafolla said.
Warning: Video contains some language.
The 2 minute confrontation ended when Andrade-Tafolla said another ICE agent, with a badge, showed up and looked at Andrade-Tafolla, compared the photo of the man they were looking for and announced it wasn’t him.
The agents left quickly, but Andrade-Tafolla said the damage was already done.
“Seeing it happen to others, but now that it happened to me …. I can’t say it,” Andrade-Tafolla said. “There’s no words to say it.”
ICE stands by its approach, despite Andrade-Tafolla committing no crime and having valid US citizenship. ICE provided the following statement about the incident:
In this instance our officers went to a specific location seeking a particular individual and interacted with someone whom they believed resembled our arrest target. It turned out the man was not the target and no further action was taken.”
“ICE will be hearing from us about this incident.,” The ACLU said in a statement. “This is a clear case of racial profiling. ICE can’t just go around stopping anyone who looks Latino and asking them to show their papers. This is America.”
The ACLU said they have been monitoring ICE activity there for months and have witnessed arrests in and around the courthouse. The ACLU emphasized how Oregon officials have asked ICE not to have a presence at courthouses, for feat that it will prevent illegal immigrants from seeking justice in the courts.
Andrade-Tafolla said he feels lucky that he didn’t end up in a holding cell at the ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, like so many others. Now he’s grappling with the reality that this could happen to a anyone, even his children.
“This could happen to them. They’re born here, US citizens but they have brown skin,” he said. “All the traits of a Latino person. I’m just in fear that this would happen to them …. sooner or later.”