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Update September 16, 2013: In a victory for fair treatment of immigrants, Pierce County Superior Court has found that the Washington State Constitution forbids local law enforcement officers from prolonging a detention to question individuals about their immigration status, citizenship status, and country of origin.
In January 2012, the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of three individuals who were unlawfully detained so that Kitsap County Sheriffs could question them about and investigate their immigration status.
On February 1, 2010, the three plaintiffs were harvesting shellfish when two Kitsap County deputy sheriffs noticed them speaking Spanish. Once the plaintiffs exited the beach, the deputies followed their truck and pulled them over, allegedly to investigate a defective headlight and their shellfish licenses. Although the deputies resolved all issues relating to the headlight and shellfish, the deputies prolonged the traffic stop to question the plaintiffs about their immigration status. The deputies then called the Border Patrol and held the plaintiffs until Border Patrol officers arrived at the scene.