FOIA Filed for Information on Courthouse Arrests and Racial Profiling by Federal Immigration Agents

October 12, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Tuesday with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reveal how federal immigration agents are operating in Oregon following the stop of a U.S. citizen outside the Washington County courthouse.

“Oregonians deserve to know more about how ICE is operating in our communities, and in particular, around our courthouses,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon. “We submitted this FOIA request so that we can learn more about how ICE is using racial profiling to make arrests in Oregon and how they are operating in and around our courts.”

On September 18, plainclothes ICE agents surrounded Isidro Andrade-Tafolla and his wife as they left the Washington County courthouse. Cellphone video taken in September by an ACLU of Oregon legal observer with the Mobile Justice Oregon app revealed that the federal immigration agents did not identify themselves while demanding to see Andrade-Tafolla’s identity documents. The agents showed Andrade-Tafolla a photo of a mugshot and said it was him, but Andrade-Tafolla said the only resemblance was skin color.

Oregon Representative Suzanne Bonamici condemned the courthouse arrests, made a formal request to ICE for information about the incident, and asked ICE to apologize to Andrade-Tafolla.

Washington County Sheriff Pat Garret criticized the agents’ tactics saying they violated agreed upon protocols by not identifying themselves and by driving unmarked cars without using red and blue lights.

“If a law enforcement stop, absent clear identification, leads to a 911 call, arriving officers could easily become just as confused as the person stopped,” Garret said. “That confusion about who is who, with unidentified ICE agents could literally become deadly.”

In April, Oregon Chief Justice Tom Balmer requested that ICE stop making courthouse arrests or treat courthouses as “sensitive locations” for immigration enforcement, as they do for schools and medical facilities. The ACLU of Oregon said their volunteer legal observers have documented 10 federal immigration enforcement actions at Washington County courthouse since then.

The FOIA request can be found here: https://aclu-or.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/final_oct_10_2017_foia_ice_at_washco_court.pdf.

Videos of courthouse arrests by ACLU of Oregon legal observers can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ_t5gI0g85rcZstpOuV3kU6yts0Ky0yD.

This release is online at: https://aclu-or.org/en/press-releases/aclu-oregon-demands-documents-ice-practices-oregon.

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