Interfaith group protests outside Washington Co. courthouse over - KPTV - FOX 12

Interfaith group protests outside Washington Co. courthouse over recent ICE arrests

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A group of interfaith leaders gathered around the Washington County courthouse Monday morning saying they want to create a "sanctuary" around the courthouse.

The group, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice or IMIrJ, said the demonstration came about after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested two undocumented immigrants last week.

According to ICE, the two men were leaving the courthouse after they had some legal proceedings here. Both had been charged with DUII, and officials with ICE told FOX 12 that both pleaded guilty.

This was not the first time ICE agents have arrested suspected undocumented immigrants in or near courthouses, critics said.

According to the ACLU of Oregon, there have been at least 10 ICE arrests at the Washington County court since April 8, 2017, when Chief Justice Tom Balmer or the Oregon Supreme Court requested to both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that the practice be stopped.

An ICE spokesperson would not confirm the number of arrests since the letter was sent in April, but did confirm the two arrests last week.

Members of the IMIrJ call those arrests at the court predatory, saying that people should be able to take care of their fines or fees, legal matters or just any everyday business without fear of arrest.

"They come to pay their dues here at the courthouse, but then they are actually taken from here to Tacoma to the central location there," Rev. Hugo Maese said. "It doesn't give them a fair process."

Other protesters Monday said they joined the even for personal reasons.

"I'm here to show support for my community. I have many family members who are facing this issue of their legal status," Adam Mercis said. "I'm fortunate I was able to get to the U.S. legally, but that's not the case for everybody."

Many of the protesters said that ICE is profiling Hispanic individuals. Just after protesters began to leave the courthouse, one of them, Isidro Andrade-Tafolla, was surround by several people. Those individuals had no obvious badges or identification indicating they were law enforcement but still began questioning Andrade-Tafolla, asking him if he was in the country legally and trying to say he was a different person.

“They didn't show me anything, no I.D. on their behalf who they were, just randomly stepped in,” Andrade-Tafolla said. “it's disturbing, it’s discrimination in all aspects from their behalf. They're not even professionally approaching people, like to have respect and show respect for people.”

The group did not arrest Andrade-Tafolla, but observers from the ACLU said the same people are at the courthouse every Monday and that they have been seen arresting undocumented immigrants.

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