Washington’s Lilac City of Spokane is drawing controversy after the local government determined it would be better that their police aid in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
The decision to not question or detain personnel on the grounds of immigration came on Tuesday as part of a final settlement with the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
The lawsuit stemmed from a 2014 traffic stop involving illegal immigrant Gabriel Gomez, whose vehicle was struck by a minivan.
During the crash investigation, an officer of SPD contacted the US Border Patrol, resulting in Gomez being detained while the other driver was sent off with a ticket.
“I have lived in this community for many years, and to suddenly have the police turn against me after being a victim in the accident really turned my life upside down,” Gomez said in a press release. “I want to be able to trust the police.”
According to NBC, Gomez was transferred to Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center, where he remained until he posted bond.
While the incident took place in 2014, Gomez is still residing in the US illegally, though he is seeking legal status to remain.
As part of the settlement, the city agreed to modify its policies to clarify that police officers “shall not contact, question, delay, detain or arrest an individual because s/he is suspected of violating immigration laws.”
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