Executive Constantine, Bellevue PD respond to ICE accusations

State law prohibits jails from complying with federal immigration hold requests.

A Bellevue suspect has made headlines across the country after a Washington, D.C., daily published a story on the Goldsmith Park murder suspect.

It wasn’t focused on the man’s actions, but rather on what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) calls an inaction by local authorities.

When Carlos Daniel Carillo-Lopez was arrested for murder in September, it wasn’t his first run-in with law enforcement.

Before his detainment on Sept. 30 — after police linked him to the Goldsmith Park shooting — Carillo-Lopez was arrested for robbery. On June 9, he was taken into custody and soon after posted bond and was released.

However, while the 19-year-old was in custody at the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention (DAJD) in Seattle, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent a civil immigration detainer to hold the suspect. According to ICE, Carillo-Lopez is a citizen of Guatemala and entered the United States as a teen.

ICE said the county released him multiple times instead of complying with immigration detainers that could have taken him off the streets.

“ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety. It’s unfortunate that current local and state laws and policies tie the hands of local law enforcement agencies that want and need to work with ICE to promote public safety by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and closure for their victims,” a statement from ICE reads.

King County Executive Dow Constantine called this news angle an ICE public relations move to smear immigrant communities, which have not been proven to commit a higher number of crimes.

Although some people may cling to the idea that people living in the country illegally commit more crimes, there’s no data to back that assumption. The Marshall Project compared FBI crime rates with Pew Research Center estimates on undocumented populations. They found little, if any, effect on crime when the number of undocumented people in certain areas grew. And their findings were consistent with other studies done.

“ICE is now on a public relations offensive against jurisdictions that follow the rule of law, alerting the media to instances when agents send civil immigration detainers that are prohibited by county policy,” Constantine stated in a news release.

He added that the DAJD will detain an individual who has been ordered released, if there is a signed warrant issued by a U.S. district court judge. Among the many factors that the county considers when deciding if a suspect should be held, immigration status is not one of those factors.

In response to Constantine, Nathalie Asher, ICE Seattle field office director for enforcement and removal, said no such criminal warrant exists for immigration purposes.

Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said the information the department shares with ICE is very limited, and under a very strict set of circumstances.

Recently, someone in Bellevue was accused of having child pornography — videos and photos uploaded to a computer, Mylett said. There was already information that the subject was here as an undocumented immigrant, and notification was made to ICE.

“Nobody wants a predator in their community that is potentially going to prey on the most innocent of the community…and that’s children,” he said.

However, his department does not ask people about their immigration status. The department has followed this practice since Mylett came to the department around five years ago.

The police department’s approach is consistent with new state legislation passed earlier this year. It prohibits Washington police from asking immigration status, unless connected to a criminal investigation. The law also bans state prisons and local jails from complying with immigration hold requests made by federal authorities, or notifying them on an immigrant’s release.

“The position this police department has taken will continue to be the way that we approach this. We follow state law,” Mylett said.