TACOMA, WA (KPTV) - In a rare move, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement allowed several media outlets to tour the Northwest Regional Processing Center in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Nathalie Asher, Director of ICE's Seattle field office, said she decided to allow access to the center to clear up rumors of deplorable conditions and mistreatment of detainees that are unfounded.

"This is a very safe and very humane operation," said Asher.

Still, the experience of being held at the facility weighed heavily on Francisco Rodriguez, a Portland DACA recipient who was detained and taken to the Tacoma facility in 2017.

"I was scared. Also afraid of what was going to happen after that," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez had community support and an attorney and was released on bond, but he won't know whether he'll be allowed to stay in the country until his court hearing in 2021.

"My level of confidence really isn't that high. Just because the laws are changing every day when it comes to immigration," said Rodriguez.

After his detention, Rodriguez and Cam Coval co-founded "Pueblo Unido," a group that connects people being held in Tacoma with legal services.

"We don't have to incarcerate people to this extent," said Coval. "There are ways people can pursue their immigration claim here in the United States."

According to researchers at Syracuse University who track federal immigration actions, only 10% of the court filings seeking removal in Tacoma cited criminal activity.

Asher, though, defends her agency and her agents' activities.

"We are all carrying out the laws as they are on the books," said Asher. "For those who complain that our officers are in the streets, I didn’t come up with that. That’s a consequence of the local policies and decisions that were made by no longer cooperating with us."

Asher said the average stay at the processing center right now is 73 days, and that the people housed there come from 65 different countries.

Currently, there are just over 1,300 people detained at the facility, with the majority of those (65%) taken into custody at the southwestern border.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(3) comments

NWR8rfan

Obey the law or be prepared to be penalized. NO country in the world would allow any foreign or domestic person to pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones to ignore. If you are that scared of what might happen or what is going to happen next... maybe you'd feel safer in your own country???? Why go to a foreign country where you feel more afraid or that is worse off? I am thinking somebody is being played here....


Lawlessness Brings Destruction

" 'My level of confidence really isn't that high. Just because the laws are changing every day when it comes to immigration,' said Rodriguez." WHICH laws are changing, Francisco Rodriguez??? You're RIGHT, Terrell Higgs. The laws have not changed but with one respect.



That change in the law was when Clinton signed the Democrat crafted bill on separating children from their families to PROTECT the children. Clinton enforced it as did Obama AND Bush for 2 terms EACH but President Trump is "Hitler" and a "racist" because he enforced it too. " 'We don't have to incarcerate people to this extent,' said Coval. 'There are ways people can pursue their immigration claim here in the United States' .". News flash, Mr Coval. Most illegals don't show up for their court dates and just disappear in to the U.S. Also. asylum claims can be made at any of the NINE consulates IN Mexico or the U.S. embassy there. This article is misleading in stating that "only 10% of the court filings seeking removal in Tacoma cited criminal activity." Any removal of illegals is concerning illegal activity. because entering the U.S. illegally is a crime. The life of an illegal then becomes a crime spree after that. Illegal immigration is not a "race". Enforcing the rule of law is NOT "racism". Lawlessness does NOT = "compassion".


Terrell Higgs

"the laws are changing every day when it comes to immigration" Sorry kid, but the laws on the books have not changed much in 50+ years, you break the law, you face the consequences. The last big change to part of the laws were by Clinton in 1996


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