Tukwila, WA – The Tukwila Police Department (TPD) has announced that it will not honor Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) warrants, and that it will “no longer collaborate with the agency,” after officers arrested an illegal immigrant on Thursday.
At about 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Macarreno witnessed a man who was attempting to break into his vehicle, so he called the police.
Officers arrived at the scene and located the trespasser, but released him after it was determined there was no probable cause to place him under arrest, TPD Officer Victor Masters told The Seattle Times.
As part of standard procedure, Macarreno’s name was also run through the federal National Crime Information Center database, and police learned that there was a warrant for his arrest, Officer Masters said.
“Officers confirmed with the issuing agency that the warrant was valid and transferred the individual with the warrant over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement who ultimately placed him in custody for the warrant,” they said.
“It’s not something we normally do,” Officer Masters told The Seattle Times. “The situation overall was very, very unique.”
“Officers believed that they were executing a valid order from a judge in the form of a criminal warrant,” the TPD said in Facebook update on Saturday, calling Macarreno’s warrant “administrative in nature.”
“They did not act with malice or outside the scope of policy or procedure for handling a warrant,” the post said.
The TPD strongly clarified its position on Saturday.
“Chief of Police Bruce Linton issued a directive to the entire Tukwila Police Department that, going forward, officers will not be responsive to administrative warrants issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, nor will it collaborate with the agency,” the department posted.
“The Department does not respond to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requests to detain individuals on their behalf. Nor do we respond to requests to notify them of contacts that we may have with undocumented immigrants. As a practice and per our policy, we do not inquire as to the nationality or immigration status of anyone that we contact during the course of our duties,” Tukwila PD declared.
Furthermore, TPD assured citizens that Chief Linton and his administration would “make other police chiefs in the region aware of the nature of these administrative wants and that other agencies may encounter them in the future as well.”
The mayor also planned to notify other mayors in the area, police said.
Cortes told The Seattle Times that he was “kind of appalled” when he learned that TPD had cooperated with ICE.
While he did not dispute that Macarreno entered the country illegally, he justified his client’s actions by explaining that he had been trying to escape gang violence in Honduras after his brother was fatally shot and his friend was dismembered.
Cortes said that Macarreno had no criminal history, although he acknowledged that the warrant was likely issued after Macarreno failed to appear for an immigration court hearing many years ago.
He added that his client has fathered three children since he entered the United States.
Going forward, the TPD said that they hope to “rebuild trust” with the community.
“It is vital that every member of our community feel safe and comfortable calling the police for help,” the department said. “This is why we became police officers in the first place.”