Wyden, Merkley Want Answers From ICE About Portland Arrest

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today asked federal immigration officials to explain the arrest this week of Carlos Bolanos after what appears to be an illegal entry of a private home in the Portland metro area.

“In a video of Mr. Bolanos’ arrest, plainclothes agents appear to have illegally entered a private residence, exclaiming ‘we don’t need a warrant to come in this home,’” the Oregon senators said in their letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  “Americans do not lose their constitutional protection from warrantless search and seizure simply because ICE believes they may be immigrants.”

Wyden and Merkley also noted in today’s letter to ICE that the Oct. 19 arrest came just two weeks after ICE wrote them in response to their questions about an earlier targeting of a U.S. citizen in Hillsboro.

ICE said in its Oct. 19 response that it “carries out targeted enforcement actions professionally and humanely” and that “ICE identifies specific individuals for apprehension, removal and in some cases through targeted enforcement.” 

“The actions of the ICE agents involved in Mr. Bolanos’ arrests are counter to the very policies and practices the Department of Homeland Security claims to uphold,”the senators wrote Deputy Field Office Director Elizabeth Godfrey in today’s letter. “The behavior of these agents in recent events, taken together, suggest that ICE’s claim that these are ‘targeted enforcement actions’ is demonstrably untrue.”

Wyden and Merkley asked ICE for the following:

1)      A copy of the results of ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General’s review.

2)      A clear explanation into the policies and practices that led to Mr. Bolanos’ arrest.

3)      Whether the behavior demonstrated by ICE agents who detained Mr. Bolanos is consistent with agency guidelines.

4)      What measures, if any, have been initiated to correct inappropriate and potentially unlawful behavior by agents involved in these incidents?

A copy of the entire letter is here.