The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is suing the Tukwila, Wash., Police Department. How did the conscientious coppers in this Seattle suburb allegedly transgress? When they found out that an illegal alien was wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), they turned him over. That sounds pretty straight-forward. Nevertheless, in the open-borders utopia of Washington, it isn’t straight-forward at all.
According to King County’s K5 News, Rodriguez Macarreno called the police in order to report an attempted break-in at his house. When police officers arrived at his home, he treated the responding officers to a rambling 20-minute account of his unlawful entry into the United States and his subsequent dealings with ICE – all of which was captured on the officers’ body cams.
Presumably for their own safety, they ran a check on Macarreno and discovered that he was the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant issued by ICE. ICE wanted Macarreno for failing to appear at an Immigration Court hearing. The Tukwila Police held him until ICE officers arrived and arrested him without incident.
Based on the video of the interaction, which has been released to the public by the Tukwila Police, the involved officers appear to have been both unfailingly polite to Macarreno and personally sympathetic to his plight.
Enter the NWIRP, a radical open-borders organization. Macarreno has no legal basis for challenging his arrest and detention by ICE, so the professional agitators at NWIRP decided to sue the Tukwila Police Department. The organization claims that past federal court rulings in the Ninth Circuit make it clear that local law enforcement officers are not authorized to arrest individuals for a violating federal immigration laws.
However, it looks like the lawyers for the NWIRP should probably hand in their bar certificates and head back to law school. The case they cite in defense of their position, Melendres v. Arpaio, held that that the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office was prohibited from detaining individuals based “based only on knowledge or reasonable belief, without more, that the person is unlawfully present within the United States.”
Nothing about the facts of this case indicate that it falls within the Melendres holding: Macarreno was clearly not detained solely on the belief that he was an illegal alien. He was detained on the basis of both his admission to being unlawfully present in the U.S. and an ICE warrant. That warrant is a formal declaration of ICE’s belief that it has cause to arrest an immigration violator.
To make matters worse, the mainstream media picked up the story and turned Macarreno into a victim with headlines like “Police Answered Immigrant’s Call for Help, then Gave Him to ICE,” and “Immigrant Faces Deportation After Calling Police for Help.” Of course, virtually all of the news coverage conveniently forgets to mention that Macarreno isn’t an “immigrant” – a person lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence – but an illegal alien with no legal right to be here.
So what’s really at issue here? Simply put: border enforcement. NWIRP, the progressive ideologues running the state of Washington, and the mainstream media all want a borderless United States. And they’re more than willing to stretch both the law, and the truth, to obtain their objectives.