After phoning federal ICE authorities to alert them about an illegal alien involved in a traffic accident, a Washington state trooper now faces an internal review to decide whether the officer broke protocol.
However, Washington Sen. Steve O’Ban is attempting to understand why the trooper is being investigated.
Hoping “to express serious concerns” to Gov. Jay Inslee, O’Ban wrote a letter to the head of state confronting the “puzzling, if not deeply concerning” investigation by the Washington State Patrol (WSP).
“I fear launching an administrative review of this routine and common-sense procedure sends a chilling message to WSP troopers and to other law enforcement personnel that undermines public safety by discouraging officers from gaining potentially vital information from federal authorities.”
The trooper in question confronted an illegal alien, Armando Chavez Corona, following a Feb. 9 highway accident. Though Corona was not the cause of the accident, a follow-up to his driver’s license prompted an Immigration and Customs Enforcement notification on Corona’s background.
Corona, a convicted felon having been deported four times between 1996-2000, was arrested at the site of the accident after the state trooper informed federal authorities of his whereabouts.
Washington State Patrol spokesman Kyle Moore has assured the public the investigation “is just a routine review of whether this trooper followed our policies.”
According to the agency, “The Washington State Patrol has a policy to not stop, detain or interrogate or place an immigration hold on any person solely for the purpose of ascertaining immigration status or in any other way attempt to enforce federal immigration laws.”
The News Tribune reported that Chavez Corona’s wife, Grace Chavez, said she may take legal action against the State Patrol. Mrs. Chavez is U.S.-born, and the couple’s three children are all U.S. citizens. She claimed that the highway patrol “violated our rights” by reporting her husband to ICE.