DWT's Portland lawyers have been working on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon to expose the practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of targeting sensitive public locations, including state courthouses, for immigration enforcement actions.
In April 2017, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court wrote a letter asking ICE to stop enforcement actions at county courthouses because it has a “chilling effect” on the criminal justice system and “deters individuals, some undocumented and some not, from coming to court when they should.” ICE responded that it would not stop. ICE also acknowledged that it often requests the assistance of local law enforcement in transferring individuals into ICE custody. In some circumstances, this collaboration can violate Oregon’s sanctuary law.
Then in September 2017, a legal observer captured on camera plainclothes ICE agents who were detaining a Latino man outside a county courthouse. The agents insisted the man was an illegal alien, mistaking him for someone else. The man was actually a U.S. citizen and county employee.
Based on documented concerns about these ICE practices and the role of local law enforcement in ICE’s strategy, the ACLU of Oregon submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to ICE for records related to the agency’s actions. But the agency stonewalled, providing no documents in response. So the ACLU of Oregon asked a DWT team, led by Derek Green, Alicia LeDuc, and Erika Buck, to take ICE to court. Over the past year, an Oregon federal court has issued a series of orders requiring ICE to produce responsive documents, with all outstanding records due by August 1, 2019.