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Our opinion: Lines government shouldn't cross

August 30, 2019
In The News

Washington County resident Isidro Andrade Tafolla and the Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a federal claim against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeking $100,000 for his humiliation, emotional distress and psychological harm after he was questioned by ICE agents in September 2017.?

The case raises troubling questions about how people of color are treated in our community. And about how "safe" a "safe haven" our courthouses are.

According to the complaint, ICE agents were watching the Washington County Courthouse when Andrade Tafolla and his wife were taking part in an unrelated court hearing. When the couple was finished, agents apparently followed them to their vehicle, detained them and began to question them.

The bigger issue, in the eyes of Bonamici, as well as Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett and Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton, is that federal authorities ought not to be staking out the county courthouse. These officials want every resident of the county to be able to take full advantage of the courthouse, without fear of an immigration-service ambush.

We agree with Bonamici, Garrett and Barton. Any action that discourages residents from the full use of the county courthouse must be curtailed. We feel the same way about allegations of ICE agents watching public schools and health clinics. If true, this must stop.

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