Oregon Rep. Angered after ICE Asked Possible Suspect for Identification

Isidro Andrade-Tafolla - KPTV video screenshot
KPTV Video Screenshot

An Oregon congresswoman seems is angry that immigration officers contacted a suspect and asked him for identification. The man turned out to be a U.S. citizen and not the person they were searching for. The congresswoman is demanding answers from the responsible agency about what appears to be routine police work.

U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) demanded answers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after officers stopped a man on September 18 in the Washington County, Oregon, courthouse and asked him for his identification, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from the congresswoman’s office. When the officers learned the man was a U.S. citizen and not the suspect they were searching for, they went on with their business and did not detain the man she identified as Isidro Andrade-Tafolla. The man is said to be a long-time employee of the county government.

For some undisclosed reason, the congresswoman’s office became involved with the matter and demanded answers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting-Director Thomas Homan and ICE regional Supervisor Elizabeth Godfrey. Bonamici says she asked the officials to “investigate the incident” and provide information about ICE policies for interrogation and apprehension. The Oregon Democrat went on to complain that ICE officials had not responded to her inquiries.

In a statement released on October 10, Bonamici wrote:

What happened to Isidro and his wife was inexcusable and ICE failing to answer our questions about the incident is unacceptable. The public deserves to know if these agents followed ICE procedure when stopping and questioning Isidro. On that day, Isidro had no idea who the people confronting them were, or what rights they had to demand personal information. It’s deeply troubling that I have received no indication that ICE officials, either locally here in Oregon or at the leadership level in Washington, are investigating the incident near the Washington County Courthouse. Without clear answers, there is a risk that this will continue to happen. Federal agents should, at the very least, properly identify themselves when interacting with members of the public. Failure to do so is a serious public safety issue.

The incident occurred about the same time a “Sanctuary in the Streets” rally was being held near the courthouse, KATU reported.

The Oregon ACLU posted a video capturing part of the encounter with the man and his wife. The video does not capture the beginning of the incident were officers may have identified themselves to the people being contacted. One of the officers can be seen briefly displaying a badge around his neck. What can be clearly seen are activists attempting to interfere with a police discussion.

Breitbart Texas reached out to ICE officials on Wednesday morning for comment. A few hours later, ICE officials responded and wrote:

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.

When conducting at-large arrests and other field operations, ICE officers are instructed to take environmental conditions into account and make determinations regarding their level of visibility in order to protect themselves and the public. In high visibility situations, ICE officers use several means to identify themselves including, but not limited to, wearing placards or clothing that clearly identifies them as immigration officers. However, in certain situations high visibility hinders or endangers safety and officers may decide not to broadcast their identity. Even in low visibility situations, officers are required to identify themselves to individuals if interacting with them as part of their official duties. These practices are consistent with those of other non-uniformed law enforcement agencies.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.


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