YAKIMA — University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights plans to file public records requests with local governments and law enforcement agencies to monitor immigration enforcement and activity in the state.
The center will use public records to study whether local police, sheriffs, jails, prosecutors, and state agencies are complying with state laws that protect immigrant communities from unwarranted collaboration with federal agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to a news release.
The new project builds on the center’s “Human Rights at Home” initiative, which has previously released reports about chartered deportation flights in King and Yakima counties; collaboration by local law enforcement and prosecutors with immigration arrests at local courthouses across the state; and an ongoing series of reports about human rights conditions at the Northwest ICE Processing Center — commonly known as Northwest Detention Center — in Tacoma.
The Keep Washington Working Act and Courts Open to All Acts, passed respectively by the Washington Legislature in 2019 and 2020, restrict unwarranted collaboration and information sharing between local agencies handling immigrant populations and federal immigration enforcement agencies.
But immigrant communities statewide have continued to report that state and local resources are being used for enforcement of civil immigration violations, a university press release said.
Partners in the project include the Washington Defender Association, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the ACLU of Washington, Columbia Legal Services, OneAmerica and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network.
Community members can report potential collaboration by Washington state, county, or local agencies with ICE or CBP to the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network’s hotline by calling 1-844-724-3737.