A police department in Washington turned am immigrant in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents when the immigrant called the police for help.
According to the Tukwila Police Department, the offices did not act “with malice” when they arrested the immigrant.
The immigrant called the police regarding a “suspicious person” that was trespassing on his property. His call was made around 5:30 a.m.
The police department followed standard procedure, saying, “As with every incident, we establish the identity of those involved.” During this ‘standard procedure,’ the officers found an outstanding warrant from ICE and they thought it was a judicial warrant.
When the officers asked the immigrant about the warrant, he affirmatively acknowledged the warrant. He called his lawyer and a friend before he was transferred to ICE agents and taken into custody.
According to the police department, the officers were not aware that the warrant was not a judicially-issued warrant, but rather an administrative warrant from ICE.
The difference between the two is vast. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Susan Gottehrer, a judicial warrant means that “there has been due process backed by probable cause…an administrative warrant is simply a document signed by an ICE agent…[that does not] pass constitutional muster.” Gottehrer says that if an ICE agent came to your house with an administrative warrant, “you do not have to open the door.”
There was no apology issued by the police department that arrested the immigrant, but in a Facebook post made by the Tukwila Police Department, the department said officers “will not be responsive to administrative warrants issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, nor will it collaborate with the agency.”
The department furthers their post saying the Department “has worked tirelessly over the past several years to develop and maintain relations with our large immigrant and refugee population. These relationships are important to the Department.”
One can only hope the department does better in the future.
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