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Lawmakers unsatisfied with federal response to 'disturbing' ICE arrests

October 25, 2017
In The News

U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer want to hear from the horse's mouth why a U.S. citizen was questioned by immigration officials near the Washington County Courthouse last month.

Bonamici and Blumenauer sent a second letter to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials Oct. 20, detailing their concerns over two incidents involving ICE agents.

On Sept. 18, Washington County resident Isidro Andrade-Tafolla and his wife were questioned by agents in downtown Hillsboro. Agents showed Andrade a photo of a suspect and asked him for identification. Andrade later told reporters there was no resemblance between himself and the photo, other than both he and the suspect were Latino.

On Oct. 19, ICE officers entered a home and arrested a man but later released him "pending further investigation," according to the letter.

The first letter, sent in September, was answered by local ICE officials but not federal officials. ICE's acting field office director, Elizabeth Godfrey, said agents acted professionally at all times, despite misidentifying Andrade.

"At no point did ICE officers attempt to detain Mr. Andrade-Tafolla," Godfrey wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Oct. 5. "Throughout the encounter, ICE officers handled themselves with professionalism and treated Mr. Andrade-Tafolla with respect."

In the Oct. 20 letter, Bonamici and Blumenauer raised "serious concerns" about contradictions between Godfrey's statement and a video of the interaction between ICE agents and Andrade released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

"Without a response [from federal officials], we will assume that an investigation into the Washington County incident is not under way," Bonamici and Blumenauer wrote. "Now after this most recent incident, it is even more disturbing to witness ICE agents act inappropriately again, only a month later."

In the letter, Bonamici and Blumenauer directed a handful of inquiries at federal ICE officials, including questions about whether ICE was reviewing the incident and protocol for plainclothes ICE agents.

The letter also questioned federal officials on the agency's response to both incidents.