A Washington state police department is being sued for turning a man into immigration officials after he called the cops on a trespasser.
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday against the Tukwila Police Department on behalf of Wilson Rodriguez Macareno. Officers did not have the legal authority to arrest Rodriguez and turn him into Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the complaint.
Attorneys for Rodriguez said officer violated the Fourth Amendment and a Washington law that states local law enforcement cannot arrest someone based only on their immigration status. Administrative warrants at the center of the case are not signed by judges, and only federal immigration officials can enforce them, according to the lawsuit.
“He feels betrayed by law enforcement officials whom he trusted to keep him and his family safe from another potential break-in, ” the lawsuit said.
Rodriguez’s lawyers want an injunction stating that police cannot arrest people solely to question their citizenship status.
A father of three, Rodriguez has been held in ICE custody for over a month.
In February, Rodriguez was getting ready for work when he suspected an intruder in his home and called the police for help.
According to the lawsuit, when Tukwila police arrived, they questioned the trespasser, but let him leave with a warning. They instead asked Rodriguez and his co-worker, who was with him at the time, for their state identification and ran Rodriguez’s information through the National Crime Information Center.
The search found that ICE had issued Rodriguez an administrative warrant in 2004 after encountering immigration officials in Texas, as The Daily Beast previously reported.
He immigrated to the United States 14 years ago fleeing violence in Honduras.
Police then called federal immigration officials to see if they “wanted” Rodriguez.
“Sometimes the decision is taken out of our hands, too, when it comes to the law,” an officer said in a video of the arrest.
“I only work for my family, like normal people, like you guys,” Rodriguez told officers after he was handcuffed.
Cops handcuffed Rodriguez, took his wallet, and drove him to an ICE field office where he was then detained by immigration officials.
Tukwila police have yet to release a statement about the lawsuit. In a statement released after Rodriguez’s arrest, police said “going forward, officers will not be responsive to administrative warrants” issued by ICE or “collaborate” with its agents.