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US citizen questioned by federal agents, Rep. Bonamici and ACLU call for investigation

September 22, 2017
In The News

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D) is calling for an investigation into the questioning of a US citizen by federal agents.

Isidro Andrade-Tafolla, a US citizen, was stopped by two federal agents outside the Washington County Courthouse Monday morning, around the same time a "Sanctuary in the Streets" rally was happening nearby.

The plain-clothed federal agents believed Andrade-Tafolla was an undocumented immigrant, and demanded his name and identification without identifying themselves in the first place. Once they realized Andrade-Tafolla wasn't the man they were looking for, they left the scene without an explanation or apology.

KATU News spoke with Andrade-Tafolla, who has lived in Washington County since 1984, earlier this week. He said the incident left him uneasy.

“I have kids. They have brown skin. Will this happen to them? I am in fear that my kids will go through this. Should they go through this? They’re born here. They’re U.S. citizens, but what happened to me, it’s uncalled for,” he said.

Oregon lawmakers including Bonamici and Rep. Blumenauer have called for an official investigation into the incident by the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They have also received support by House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

Bonamici has also worked on legislation that would prohibit ICE officers from interviewing or arresting people at "sensitive locations," which include places like courthouses or schools.

The group released the following statement Friday:

“The ICE detention and interrogation of a U.S. citizen, even for a brief period of time, is disturbing and possibly unconstitutional,” wrote the lawmakers. “However, this incident is even more troubling because the officers in question failed to identify themselves as ICE officers. Mr. Andrade-Tafolla had no way of knowing who the ICE officers were or whether they were kidnappers or participants in other criminal activity. The use of plainclothes officers who refuse to identify themselves as law enforcement officers is not conducive to a law enforcement mission and it harkens back to the use of secret police."

We have repeatedly expressed our opposition to the expansion of immigration enforcement in our streets, courthouses, and communities. We have raised concerns that immigration enforcement could be used to racially profile, terrorize, and harass immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants. This case in Hillsboro exemplifies these concerns and demonstrates how expanded ICE enforcement affects citizens and immigrants alike.”

ICE officials released the following statement Friday as well:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and special agents conduct targeted enforcement actions every day in support of the agency's mission, which includes enforcing more than 400 federal laws and statutes. During such operations, the officers and special agents may encounter and engage with individuals whom they ultimately determine are not the intended arrest targets or possible witnesses.

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.

If the Department of Homeland Security receives a formal complaint alleging racial profiling, it will be thoroughly investigated. However, as I explained above, this was a case of mistaken identity, not racial profiling.

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