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US citizen shaken up after ICE encounter in Washington County

Andrade-Tafolla, a U.S. citizen, speaks to KATU on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, two days after ICE agents asked him for his identification. (KATU Photo)

The video shows a woman in a green sweatshirt and jeans asking a man for his last name. Another man in a plaid shirt and jeans walks up and asks the woman recording the interaction to step back.

“Do you have a warrant for arrest?” the ACLU of Oregon legal observer shooting the video asks the two people. “Do you have any identification that you are showing them?”

The two people ignore her. But the man’s wife vigorously defends her husband.

“You are not part of the court. We do not know you. Please back away from my husband. Please back away from our car before we call the cops,” she says.

Isidro Andrade-Tafolla, a U.S. citizen, had just accompanied his wife into a hearing at the Washington County Courthouse on Monday. On the way out he and his wife were approached by apparent U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents in plain clothes.

They were asking for identification and had a picture of the man they were targeting.

“My wife looks at it and got irate, because my wife felt insulted that they thought the person in the picture was me. There was no resemblance other than the color of the skin,” Andrade-Tafolla told KATU Wednesday.

Andrade-Tafolla has lived in Washington County since 1984 and has been a Washington County public works employee for the past 19 years.

“It’s a nightmare. Never thought it would happen to me. Never thought I would be a U.S. citizen sitting in this mess that is wrong,” he said.

In the video, after a couple minutes, agents wearing ICE badges show up.

“Tapped on the shoulder and said, ‘This is not the guy. Let’s get out of here.’ And that, instantly, they just scattered,” Andrade-Tafolla told KATU.

The agents got into two separate vehicles and drove off.

Andrade-Tafolla’s now worried about his family.

“I have kids. They have brown skin. Will this happen to them? I am in fear that my kids will go through this. Should they go through this? They’re born here. They’re U.S. citizens, but what happened to me, it’s uncalled for,” he said.

ICE sent KATU a short statement saying in part: “Officers and special agents may encounter and engage with individuals whom they ultimately determine are not the intended arrest targets or possible witnesses.”

As for Andrade-Tafolla, he said the county has been very supportive this week as he deals with all of this.

Meanwhile, Oregon U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici want ICE to investigate the incident.

“We urge an investigation into the events which occurred outside of the Washington County Courthouse,” Blumenauer and Bonamici wrote. “Demanding identification from United States citizens is unacceptable. Should the account in the Oregonian of the event be corroborated by an internal investigation, please describe to us the nature of any retraining or discipline that would result.”

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