SALEM, Ore. — A video taken by a man remodeling a house in Oregon shows federal immigration agents arresting his co-worker, even though they acknowledged they lacked a warrant to enter the home.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it’s now investigating the Thursday incident near Beaverton. The agency said the arrested man has been released.
Spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe said the matter has also been referred to watchdog groups both within ICE and in its parent department in Washington.
Oregon’s two U.S. senators denounced the agents’ actions. State Rep. Diego Hernandez, a Democrat representing Portland, tweeted: “They had no warrant, ICE is out of line.”
The man, identified by the senators as Carlos Bolanos, was released after the video was posted on Facebook
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Mat Dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said the video has enough information to show significant wrongdoing by the federal agents.
It also reflects a disturbing trend by ICE in targeting people for deportation while agents are dressed in plainclothes and not identifying themselves, Dos Santos added.
“It’s all too common,” Dos Santos said. “We see it time and time again where ICE officers actively engaged in pursuing someone show up in plain clothes, don’t display badges, and get incredibly aggressive when met with natural shock by those they are targeting.”
George Cardenas began shooting the video after two of the federal agents entered the house that he and another man were remodeling. An agent is heard asking off-camera for Bolanos’ ID. When asked why, the agent responds: “Because I have reason to believe you’re not in the country legally.”
Cardenas then asks the agents for a warrant.
“We don’t need a warrant to come in this home,” the agent says.
Then Cardenas points his cellphone camera at two of the agents inside the house, a man and a woman who refuse to give their names.
“Honestly, I don’t think you guys should even be in here,” Cardenas tells them. “You’re basically trespassing at this moment, right now.”
Bolanos tries to call the homeowner but can’t reach her. In the video, the agents insist that Cardenas invited them inside, which he denies.
After seven minutes, the agents surround Bolanos while he is talking on a cellphone. They take the phone from one hand and a paintbrush from another as an agent warns him not to resist. They cuff his hands behind his back and put him into a car.
Cardenas said Bolanos has four children in Oregon, and that they’re all US citizens.
U.S. Sens Ron Wyden and Jeffrey Merkley said in a letter Friday to Elizabeth Godfrey, deputy director in Portland of ICE’s enforcement and removal operations, that the incident is “deeply troubling.”
After Bolanos was set free. Cardenas drove to pick him up.
“I think the outcome would have definitely been different if I didn’t record (the incident) or if I wasn’t a U.S. citizen,” Cardenas said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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