Among the numerous disgraceful tactics used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials lately, we can add illegal, warrantless entry into a private home, which lawmakers say is a serious violation of constitutional rights.
In a video posted on Facebook on Friday, ICE agents in Portland, OR, are seen entering a private home without permission to arrest 32–year–old Carlos Bolaños, a housepainter. His co–worker, George Cardenas, recorded the incident and is heard repeatedly telling the agents they did not have permission to be in the home.
The painters called and texted the homeowner, who was not present at the time.
Cardenas is heard in the video asking the officers several times to leave. He also asked them for their names, which they refused to provide.
After a long, seven–minute exchange, four officers storm the interior of the home and arrest Bolaños and place him in an unmarked white car. He was then taken to an ICE detention center and released shortly later.
During the exchange, Cardenas asked the officers, “Do you have a warrant to come in this home?”
An aggressive plainclothes officer wearing a green and black jacket, baseball cap, and khaki pants, and who appears unsure at times of his actions, responds, “We don’t need a warrant to come in this home. No one lives here.”
“Honestly, I don’t think you guys should even be in here. You’re basically trespassing at this moment,” Cardenas said, adding, “I opened the door. I never told you to come in…I’m just letting you know that you’re trespassing at this very moment.”
“We’re not going to leave,” the officer responded.
When asked for their names, one officer replied, “I’m a federal officer.” Another said, “We don’t need to introduce ourselves by our names. There’s no law that says we have to.”
“There’s a law that says you can’t come into private property,” Cardenas answered. “Did you know that? And you guys are breaking the law right now. Yeah, laugh about it. It’s fucking hilarious.”
After a brief discussion, the four officers decide to take Bolaños into custody, yelling at him not to resist. In one hand, Bolaños held a cellphone. In the other, a paintbrush.
Following the incident, senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent a letter to Deputy Field Office Director Elizabeth Godfrey demanding answers.
The letter states:
Americans do not lose their constitutional protection from warrantless search and seizure simply because ICE believes they may be immigrants. 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 behavior of these agents in recent events, taken together, suggest that ICE’s claim that these are “targeted enforcement actions” is demonstrably untrue.
In a statement to KATU, ICE spokesman Yameen Pitts O’Keefe wrote, “The alien at issue has been released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody pending further investigation regarding the circumstances of his arrest, and the matter has been referred to the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General. The Agency is reviewing this incident.”
In their letter, the senators noted that the warrantless raid follows another wrongful detention by ICE last month, in which agents arrested U.S. citizen Isidro Andrade–Tafolla outside the Washington County Courthouse. Andrade–Tafolla is a married father of three who has worked as a road maintenance worker for Oregon’s Washington County for nearly 20 years.
Referring to Bolaños’ detention, Mat dos Santos, legal director for the ACLU of Oregon, told FOX 12 that ICE is “violating constitutional law. They’re violating federal policy and guidelines, the whole interaction from start to finish was just wrong.”
Cardenas later told KATU: “I felt like I had to record it. I had to record every single second of this because I knew these people they get these power trips and they think they can do whatever they want.”
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