Immigration and Customs Enforcement | KNKX

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials are sending a warning to protesters who have been camped outside the Northwest Detention Center for more than a week.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Raphael A. Sanchez, who was chief counsel at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle when he opened credit cards and took out loans using the personal information of vulnerable immigrants, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has acquired new space in federal prisons to house immigrant detainees — more than 1,600 beds.

Because of a "current surge in illegal border crossings" and the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance policy," ICE entered into agreements with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the agency said Thursday.

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is suing California and two top state officials, accusing them of interfering with federal immigration efforts by passing and enforcing state laws that hinder U.S. operations against undocumented people.

The lawsuit filed late Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., points out that the Constitution gives the U.S. government sweeping authority over immigration.

Anytime someone is booked into a county jail for a crime in the U.S., his or her fingerprints are automatically sent to federal authorities. If the suspect happens to be an undocumented immigrant, what happens next could depend on where the jail is located.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement often asks jails to hold undocumented people, so federal agents can pick them up and put them into deportation proceedings.

While their cases were in various stages of immigration proceedings, seven people had their identities stolen by the chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle, according to a filing by the Justice Department.

Lea esta historia en español.

The day was going to be perfect.

Alex figured he would wake up at 6:30 a.m., help get his little brothers up and off to school and catch the bus by 7. After school, the 14-year-old would do something he had been looking forward to for weeks — play in his first football game.

Will James / KNKX

UPDATED Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 4:15 P.M. with a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Federal authorities have begun deportation proceedings against a Washington activist known for criticizing the government's immigration enforcement efforts. 

Maru Mora Villalpando told reporters Tuesday that on Dec. 20 she received a certified letter ordering her to appear before an immigration judge in Seattle. The notice said a court date would be set later.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington's attorney general sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging the national budget chain disclosed the private information of thousands of its guests to U.S. immigration authorities in violation of the state consumer protection law.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Tacoma officials are considering limits on any future expansion of the Northwest Detention Center, the region's only detention center for immigrants facing deportation. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it conducted a major operation last week targeting so-called “sanctuary cities," including Seattle.

Focusing enforcement on certain cities because of their local laws would represent a new tactic for immigration authorities, according to immigrant advocates and local government leaders.

But details of the operation raise questions about whether it really differed from normal enforcement activities in the Northwest. 

People are prank calling President Trump's new office to report illegal "criminal aliens" — just not the type of "aliens" President Trump had in mind when he created the office.

Ever since the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office opened earlier this week, people have taken to Twitter to encourage calling and reporting extraterrestrials to the office's hotline.

Florinda Lorenzo has been in the U.S. illegally for more than a decade but checks in with federal immigration agents in Baltimore several times a year. Until recently, it had become routine, almost like a trip to the dentist.

Many immigrants who are here illegally — like Lorenzo — are not in hiding. Hundreds of thousands of them report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a regular basis. They've been allowed to stay because past administrations considered them a low priority for deportation.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Oregon

A 21-year-old Portland man who was hit by a car in January, and is recovering from having both his legs broken, has been detained by federal immigration authorities.

Emmanuel Ayala Frutos is from Mexico and has lived in Portland since the age of six, according to the ACLU of Oregon.

"This particular case is just particularly cruel," said Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon. "You have somebody who has both serious mental and physical health needs."

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

The Trump administration is calling out cities and counties for their policies toward undocumented immigrants, and Washington state is well-represented on the list. 

Eleven Washington counties appear in a report the administration published Monday identifying jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Officials in Los Angeles have asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents working in the city not to identify themselves as police.

In a letter addressed to the ICE deputy field office director who handles immigration enforcement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and president of the city council Herb Wesson wrote:

President Trump wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to enforce his executive orders on immigration.

It wont be easy.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was blunt when asked by a member of Congress about it. He said he will add to the ranks "as fast as we can."

But he quickly added, "we will not lower standards and we will not lower training." Kelly then said he didn't believe "we're going to get 10,000 and 5,000 on board within the next couple of years."