Washington immigrant arrested after calling cops for help could be 'on a plane to Honduras in days'

Advocates fear that due to what the Tukwila Police Department claims was a mistake, Washington state dad of three Wilson Rodriguez Macarreno could have just days left in the United States before he’s deported to his native Honduras. Earlier this month, Rodriguez Macarreno called police to report a possible intruder who had been stalking his property for weeks. But rather than taking the suspect into custody, it was Rodriguez Macarreno who was arrested despite having no criminal record and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Police claim that they made a grave error when they ran Rodriguez Macarreno’s name and mistook an administrative warrant from ICE—which “can be signed by an ICE officer without being supported by probable cause,” and therefore does not have to be honored—for a judicial warrant. But Luis Cortes, Rodriguez Macarreno’s attorney, thinks the story is different: “Administrative warrants have the Homeland Security logo right on top of it. It looks significantly different. What seems to me that happened here was that they didn’t look at any warrant. They ran Wilson’s name in without looking at any paper work” and then took Rodriguez Macarreno to ICE themselves.

Following community outcry, Officer Victor Masters “said the department, after this incident, determined that if an ICE warrant appears in future NCIC checks, officers should notify their supervisor, who will take a closer look. ‘If it’s administrative in nature, we’re not going to honor it.’” But, this is all too late for Rodriguez Macarreno, who is direly close to being torn from his family and U.S. home of nearly 15 years. “If we do absolutely nothing he will be on a plane to Honduras in a few days,” Cortes said.

“This is beyond ineptitude,” said Juan Jose Bocanegra, an organizer for the Seattle-based El Comite, an immigrant rights group. “How is it possible that Tukwila officials turn in a resident who called them for assistance? This only further corrodes any confidence that immigrant community members have in law enforcement.”

Both Cortes and Tukwila police can agree that the department has “worked tirelessly over the past several years to develop and maintain relations with our large immigrant and refugee population,” including “a long history of not getting involved in immigration-related issues.” But with one serious error, those efforts could now be in jeopardy. “It almost makes me wish he didn’t call the police,” said resident Karen Wendt at a packed Tukwila City Council meeting. And that’s exactly what police fear—if residents, especially immigrants—are too afraid to call police, it affects community safety overall.