At the moment, county elected officials can be divided into two camps: those who think cooperating with ICE is illegal, and those who think cooperating with ICE is the best way to enforce the law.
Those who see partnership and cooperation as the best way to enforce the law face a dilemma. Under Oregon law and the most recent executive order on the subject by the governor, using any public resources to cooperate with ICE is illegal.
If a county employee calls ICE to inform them that someone who does not have proper documentation is going to be getting married at the courthouse at a certain time, and that phone call was made during working hours and on a county phone, they have violated the law.
The county sheriff is well aware of this. On numerous occasions, his staff has recited their “special obligation” to not cooperate with ICE. What is this special obligation? As we have reported before, Clackamas County was the defendant in a landmark case where the federal courts recognized that ICE detainer warrants not issued by a federal judge are voluntary. That lesson cost Clackamas taxpayers about $100,000.
Some county commissioners are concerned that the Trump administration will carry out its threats to defund counties refusing to honor ICE detention warrants. Once again the federal courts have ruled that to do so would be unconstitutional. Last month the Northern District of California Court ruled that the federal government cannot take money away from or refuse to fund county programs in Santa Clara and San Francisco because of county actions regarding ICE.
At their hearing last month, Clackamas County commissioners heard about ICE “camping” outside of the jail and courthouse to detain our neighbors. They heard stories of families being divided because one member needed to go to the courthouse. They heard that abused women from the community are fearful of reporting abuse since it will result in their family being divided.
Now a new story from USA TODAY about ICE demonstrates not only the lack of justice but the lack of compassion and basic decency of this particular federal agency.
Despite living in the U.S. without permission, Felix Yulian “Julian” Motino tried to follow the rules by paying his taxes, working hard as a house painter, and taking care of his two U.S. citizen children. Motino and Alexis, his U.S. citizen wife of two years, had begun the process of trying to gain legal status for him during the Obama administration, but because of his undocumented status and a prior deportation order, they were warned by friends the effort could be dangerous under Donald Trump.
For 45 minutes, the couple provided documents that included their marriage certificate from May 15, 2015, utility bills bearing both of their names, her U.S. birth certificate and his Honduran passport. They thumbed through their wedding album and showed the agent photographs of themselves from the early years of their relationship.
The USCIS agent, named Carlos, said toward the end of the meeting that he had to make copies of their ID cards. The agent came back to his office and asked the couple to have a seat in the lobby, where his supervisor, Julie, would speak to them.
“Julie said, ‘Felix, we need you to come outside into the hallway,’ ” said Alexis Motino, a 26-year-old Cincinnati native.
There, two officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement met him and said, “We need you to come with us.”
Felix Motino is still in an ICE detention center, as of June 3.
At 10:30 am on Thursday, June 8, the Clackamas County the Board of County Commissioners will vote to formally adopt the sheriff’s current policy as dictated by the federal court case to provide “due process” to all of our neighbors as required by the U.S. Constitution. If you can, please plan to attend and show your support.