A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official brushed off concerns raised by U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer over two controversial Portland-area arrests that occurred within the span of a month.
The Oregon representatives sent two letters asking ICE to account for its agents' apparent violations of federal laws after video of two arrests raised concerns about discrimination and entering a home without a warrant.
In its response, the federal agency says it is reviewing both incidents but also claims that its agents "demonstrated great restraint and professionalism" during the encounters despite what it calls a "hostile environment" for the immigration officers in Oregon. The agency also cautions against relying on video to determine whether the agents' actions were appropriate.
"Any recording that failed to capture the beginning of the encounter when officer self-identification took place should not be relied upon to allege the officers failed to identify themselves as ICE officers," wrote Raymond Kovacic Assistant Director Office of Congressional Relations at ICE.
Rep. Bonamici and Rep. Blumenauer were not satisfied with the federal agency's response to their questions.
"Though we appreciate ICE acknowledging our letter, the response is highly contradictory. If the two Oregon incidents are under review, how can ICE also conclude that officers followed all policies and procedures?" they said in a statement. "Our constituents in Oregon are deeply concerned by these aggressive actions. ICE must be held accountable when enforcement encroaches on civil liberties."
Advocates in Oregon are also concerned about the agency's response to the two controversial incidents.
"It is terrifying that an agency that is meant to uphold the law is consistently breaking it," said ACLU of Oregon legal director Mat dos Santos. "There isn't a single thing in ICE's response that instills faith in their ability to follow the law moving forward."