Multnomah Co. officials release joint statement on reports of IC - KPTV - FOX 12

Multnomah Co. officials release joint statement on reports of ICE activities at courthouses

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MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -

In a joint statement Saturday, Multnomah County leaders expressed concern over reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detaining people at county courthouses.

In the statement, signed by Chair Deborah Kafoury and the four other county commissioners, Presiding Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Nan G. Waller and Sheriff Mike Reese, the county leaders note they have reached out to court officials regarding the reports of recent activity, noting that it is still unknown if there has been an actual increase.

The statement notes that courthouses should be “safe locations for people to access justice” and that county leaders, “can't have people afraid to access justice in Multnomah County.”

The statement also reiterates the sheriff’s office policies regarding ICE officers, noting that they are not given access to court facilities that are not open to the public nor are they permitted to maintain a presence in county correctional facilities.

The sheriff’s office also noted again that deputies would not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions, actions all approved by the county commission in December.

Like many of you, late Friday we heard reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detaining people who come to the Multnomah County Circuit Court Courthouses.

We immediately reached out to court officials. In the past two weeks, there has been an increase in reports of ICE activity around - and in some cases inside - the courthouse. We do not yet know if there has been an actual increase.

Anything that increases the fear of people accessing our courts is of grave concern. Courthouses need to be safe locations for people to access justice: whether to contest an eviction, seek a restraining order from abuse, or attend a custody hearing. Now, they may be too afraid to show up.

This is devastating for the people accessing our services, and in many cases, counterproductive to a lawful community. We encourage ICE to recognize courthouses as sensitive locations and consider these impacts.

We can't have people afraid to access justice in Multnomah County.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office does not give ICE officers access to areas of court facilities that are not open to the public, and does not permit ICE officers to maintain a presence in any County correctional facility. The Sheriff's Office does not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions. The Board of County Commissioners formally recognized and supported this policy with a resolution on Dec. 22, 2016.

Please contact our offices with any information. And know that we are working to support the families in our community and to provide services to all those in need.

Respectfully,

Chair Deborah Kafoury

Vice Chair Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson

Commissioner Loretta Smith

Commissioner Sharon Meieran

Commissioner Lori Stegmann

Nan G. Waller, Presiding Judge Multnomah County Circuit Court

Sheriff Mike Reese

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