Published:Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Gabriel Gomez was driving to church one Sunday morning when his pickup truck was hit by a minivan. The crash wasn’t his fault—and he was injured by it— but rather than call an ambulance or investigate, a Spokane police officer called the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), who locked Mr. Gomez behind bars for one month in immigration detention.
“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,” said Mr. Gomez.
The ACLU and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) brought a lawsuit on his behalf against the City of Spokane for unlawfully detaining him and discriminating against him. Mr. Gomez won a $49,000 settlement which required Spokane to change its policies.
No one should have to go through what Mr. Gomez did, and fortunately, a new Washington law prevents it.
Thanks to the Keep Washington Working Act, it is now unlawful for Washington’s law enforcement to do the work of federal immigration authorities. This includes but is not limited to:
- Stopping or detaining someone to determine immigration status
- Routinely asking about and collecting place of birth, immigration status or nationality, unless doing so is necessary for an ongoing criminal investigation
- Giving someone’s personal information, such as a date of birth or home address, to ICE/CBP
- Holding people on ICE/CBP detainers or administrative warrants
- Contracting with ICE/CBP to rent county jail beds to hold people for civil immigration violations
Washington’s law enforcement agencies exist to keep everyone in Washington safe, regardless of immigration status. We’re glad a bipartisan group of state lawmakers realized that no one is safe when people are afraid to seek help from their local authorities.
Now, we’re making sure every law enforcement agency and jail in Washington is aware of this law and abides by it.
You can help.
Know Your Rights and share this information with others.