PORTLAND, Ore. – The ACLU of Oregon and cooperating attorneys at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton today filed a federal lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act on behalf of Isidro Andrade-Tafolla against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Andrade-Tafolla, a Washington County worker and U.S. citizen, was illegally detained by ICE agents outside the Washington County Courthouse on September 18, 2017. The claim seeks damages for Andrade-Tafolla’s humiliation, emotional distress, and psychological harm as a result of ICE’s actions that day. “I will never forget that day,” Andrade-Tafolla said. “I feel like I am living it every day and can't get away from it. It hit me really hard and It was obviously wrong. No one should have to go through this."
“The unlawful detention of Isidro Andrade-Tafolla is one of many that Black and brown Oregonians have experienced,” said Leland Baxter-Neal, staff attorney for ACLU of Oregon. “People around the world were shocked by recent images of unidentified federal agents grabbing protestors off the streets of Portland and shoving them into unmarked minivans. Unfortunately, for communities of color, including here in Oregon, this kind of abusive and secretive policing by Homeland Security is not new. No one should be above the law.”
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, ACLU was required to first file a claim directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to conduct an internal investigation of Andrade-Tafolla’s unlawful detention. This claim, submitted in August 2019 and was denied by DHS this spring.
“It’s illegal to arrest or detain a person without reasonable suspicion or probable cause that they violated the law, '' said attorney Caitlin Mitchell, from Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton. “It’s also illegal to arrest or detain a person based on their race. That’s true no matter who you are and where you are in the United States.”
“Isidro has lived in Washington County since he was a teenager,” she added. “He has worked for the county for more than two decades and been a U.S. citizen for 25 years. He also is a father, husband, and youth soccer coach. If this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone. ICE must be held accountable for violating the law.”
In November 2019, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters issued a new rule to stop warrantless civil arrests in Oregon’s courts. ICE arrests and detentions like the one targeting Andrade-Tafolla are administrative arrests under civil law, and not criminal arrests. The Supreme Court’s ruling came in response to a formal petition by faith leaders, immigrant rights advocates, and community members including Innovation Law Lab, Causa, Adelante Mujeres, the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ), Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, the Victim’s Rights Law Center, and others who noted the number of ICE arrests in and around Oregon courthouses had risen sharply under the Trump administration, making many people afraid to go to court and compromising access to justice in the state.
"At a time when so many in our communities are thinking critically about what public safety looks like in our communities, we must reflect on the deep pain that immigration enforcement has caused to Oregonians,” Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice Executive Director Alaide Vilchis Ibarra said. “Isidro's story is reflective of a broader immigration system rooted in racism and implemented to make our immigrant community members invisible. Oregon can and should be a model for policies and budgets that center the humanity in all people, instead of fear, division, cruelty."
Through documents obtained via a FOIA lawsuit and legal observers, the ACLU of Oregon says they have documented civil immigration enforcement activity in state courthouses in Lane, Marion, Multnomah, Clackamas, Umatilla, Morrow, Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler, Wasco, Hood River, Josephine, Lincoln, Clatsop, Washington, and Yamhill counties—courthouses that together serve 3 million Oregonians.
This week the ACLU called for the dismantling of DHS which has surveilled Black Lives Matter activist circles; descended into mosques and community centers to infiltrate Muslim communities; shot and killed foreign nationals across the border; and monitored protests using fusion center intelligence sharing hubs. DHS is also responsible for separating children from their parents at our borders — a tragedy the ACLU continues to litigate.
The lawsuit is online at https://aclu-or.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/andrade_tafolla_...
Video of ICE agents detaining Isidro Andrade Tafolla outside the courthouse is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm33Kk6H6Qc&list=PLZ_t5gI0g85rcZstpOuV3k....
Photos of Isidro Andrade-Tafolla are available to the media at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u7nmyg2jlmgtyki/AACQxElH_E41pHELI4vodbCWa?dl=...