SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane mayor and police chief said they will not be sending officers to the Intermodal Center to keep Border Patrol agents off the buses.
The Spokane City Council passed an ordinance declaring certain city properties off-limits to immigration officers. The ordinance seeks to end a U.S. Border Patrol practice where agents board Greyhound buses at the Spokane Intermodal Center and ask riders about their citizenship status.
Police Chief Craig Meidl said he wanted to first acknowledge the harms committed toward people who have been contacted at the Intermodal Center, even across the state, by border patrol agents.
Meidl said in the department's discussions with the city council on this ordinance, they wanted to reiterate that federal law is supreme.
"My direction to the department has been I do not want you guys to be civilly or criminally charged by interfering with border patrol. So, we will not interfere. We will not challenge them. Will not hinder them, we will not delay them. That's not our role," Meidl explained.
Mayor David Condon acknowledged this as well.
"They do not have to ask for our permission. And conversely, we cannot impede their work," Condon said.
Meidl sent out a guidance document to Spokane Police employees related to the immigration ordinance. It says the City of Spokane does not expect its employees to determine if federal enforcement agents are acting within the proper authority.
It also said the new ordinance does not make it the duty of city employees to stop and question agents of ICE, border patrol or any other federal agency. That includes even inquiring if they have a judicial criminal warrant.
The document does say city employees should contact their supervisor if they believe they are faced with a situation that requires action based on the ordinance.