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Rantz: King County brags about helping criminal illegal immigrants

King County officials are bragging about helping criminal illegal immigrants escape law enforcement. (John Moore/Getty Images)

King County officials are bragging about helping criminal illegal immigrants escape law enforcement. And they’re using a whopper of a lie about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to do it.

Using the birthday of icon Rosa Parks as a backdrop, the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) proudly announced a new flyer. It is to be placed in and around mass transit options. The impetus? They say a “fear of ICE and deportation issues.”

The flyer “contains photos and descriptions of the numerous uniformed enforcement officers that community members may see on transit, and what their roles and authorities are.” For OLEO, this is an important issue to ensure transit equity — because even criminal illegal immigrants should feel comfortable using our mass transit, I guess.

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“King County is stronger and healthier when we all work and commute safely side-by-side with our neighbors,” Monserrat Padilla, Director of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, said in a press release. “As immigration enforcement increases in WA state, it is critical to understand the different agencies at play when commuting through public transit…”

OLEO and their partners are pushing an outright lie.

The lie 

OLEO wants you to believe that ICE boards transit to find illegal immigrants. That isn’t actually happening.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not board public transit in order to check the immigration status of patrons on board,” ICE spokesperson Tanya Roman tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible, speculative and inaccurate.”

King County officials know this — or they should. The press release memo specifically cites ICE, yet they’re not engaging in the behavior they imply. Why? To brag about specifically protecting criminal illegal immigrants.

ICE targets illegal immigrants who are actively breaking laws. They’re not boarding buses asking for proof of citizenship, hoping to catch an illegal immigrant. OLEO pretending ICE is up to that, essentially brags about protecting ICE targets: Criminals.

“ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” Roman tells me. “ICE only conducts targeted enforcement and does not conduct any type of indiscriminate raids, patrols or sweeps that target aliens indiscriminately.”

OLEO seems upset that ICE goes after criminal illegal immigrants. Is it controversial to want to deport, for example, Rene Maya-Estrada? He is an illegal immigrant charged with raping a local 17-year-old girl. What about Francisco Carranza-Ramirez? In this country illegally, he raped and assaulted a wheelchair-bound local woman. OLEO wants to give them tools on a flyer to escape what they think ICE is doing on buses.

Is it really controversial to want to deport monsters, while offering a path to citizenship for otherwise law abiding folks? If you’re a partisan hack, I suppose it might be.

The truth 

ICE is calling out King County for lying by setting the record straight.

“Local officials know we aren’t out there doing indiscriminate sweeps, but because of political motives, do nothing to set the record straight or provide the public with accurate information,” Nathalie Asher, field office director, ICE ERO-Seattle, said in a statement. “Let me be very clear, ICE does not conduct patrols, raids, or sweeps looking for illegal aliens. Individuals and groups making such accusations are doing nothing but fearmongering and in turn, putting the public and officers at great risk. ICE strictly conducts targeted enforcement actions and continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety.”

The uniformed officers who board transit? The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response team.

“These uniformed VIPR teams are part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and have been mistaken for ICE officers in the past,” Roman notes.

OLEO won’t attack VIPR teams because no one knows what VIPR teams are. That makes it harder to score political points. OLEO, instead, targets ICE. That’s easier for them, even if it’s based on a lie.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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