Washington Lawmaker Defends Cop In Hot Water For Reporting Illegal Immigrant To Feds

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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A Washington state senator is demanding to know why a police officer is in hot water for alerting federal immigration authorities of the whereabouts of a previously deported convicted felon.

The officer encountered the illegal immigrant at the scene of an accident, and was completing a routine check on his driver’s license when an alert popped up from Immigration and Customs Enforcement saying the man was a convicted felon and had previously been deported, reports The News Tribune. The trooper contacted ICE to confirm the details, and federal immigration officials came to the scene and detained the man, Armando Chavez Corona. He had not caused the accident.

He had been deported four times between 1996 and 2000, according to ICE officials, and had been convicted on a felony drug charge. A spokesman for the officer said he was not arrested by local authorities or detained at the scene of the accident in order to ensure his arrest by federal officials. Chavez Corona is now awaiting deportation.

The State Patrol, however, launched a review of whether the officer followed an internal policy that instructs police not to go out of their way to help federal immigration officials, such as by stopping or detaining someone solely to determine their immigration status. After Washington state Sen. Steve O’Ban learned of the review, he sent a letter to Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee to express “serious concerns” about the matter. The review is “puzzling, if not deeply concerning,” he wrote to Inslee.

“I fear launching an administrative review of this routine and common-sense procedure sends a chilling message to WSP troopers and to other law enforcement personnel that undermines public safety by discouraging officers from gaining potentially vital information from federal authorities,” he added.

A spokesman for the State Patrol noted the officer has not been disciplined in any way, and stressed the review is routine.

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