When an undocumented immigrant called Washington police to report a suspicious person on his property, they arrested him instead of the trespasser.
Wilson Rodriguez Maccareno, a father of three from Honduras, has been living in the U.S. for 14 years. But when Tukwila, Washington, police answered his 911 call last Thursday, they discovered he was undocumented and had an outstanding warrant issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). So they took Rodriguez into custody and let the suspicious person, after identifying him, go free.
“Do you want us to bring him to you?” police asked ICE over the radio, Rodriguez told the media.
“That would be great,” the voice responded.
Police then handcuffed Rodriguez, who has 3-year-old twins and a 1-year-old, and delivered him to ICE.
In the days since Rodriguez’s arrest, the Tukwila Police Department has been scrambling to explain how he ended up in the hands of ICE in a county that offers sanctuary protection. As it turns out, the decision was a mistake, according to Tukwila police. The arresting officers believed they were complying with a criminal warrant issued by a judge. In fact, they were dealing with an administrative warrant from ICE that requires no judge.
Shortly after Rodriguez came to the U.S. in 2004, he missed a mandatory court hearing in Texas because he was moving addresses and did not receive the notice, according to his attorney.
“They followed standard protocol and procedure as they would for a warrant of any type,” the Tukwila PD said in a statement. “They did not act with malice or outside the scope of policy or procedure for handling a warrant.”
The department has also since decided that officers will no longer respond to warrants from ICE, “nor will it collaborate with the agency,” according to a statement posted to its Facebook page. But for Rodriguez, it’s too little, too late. He’s now facing possible deportation back to Honduras.
Cover image: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant field officers arrest an Iranian immigrant in San Clemente, California, U.S., May 11, 2017. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)