The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) today filed a formal complaint with the federal government over the practice of allowing U.S. Border Patrol agents to be used as translators.
The complaint — made to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security — details an April traffic stop in Spokane in which a man was detained, according to a copy of the complaint.
After pulling over a man identified only by the initials "K.L.," the police officer had a conversation about speeding and said he would issue K.L. a verbal warning. Despite having clear communication, the officer requested the Border Patrol come and provide language assistance, according to the complaint. Based on "reasonable suspicion," the Border Patrol detained the man.
"The [Border Patrol report] does not explain exactly what they had a 'reasonable suspicion' about, and it also does not explain what factors or information led to them having a reasonable suspicion," the complaint states.
K.L. is currently being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, according to the report.
The Immigrant Rights Project alleges that using Border Patrol agents as translators violates Title 6 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and that only Spanish-speaking people are subject to having Border Patrol agents show up for translation, according to the complaint.
The complaint follows a recent ACLU lawsuit regarding alleged racial profiling on the Olympic Peninsula, as well as the revelation that Border Patrol drones fly in airspace over Spokane. NWIRP also released recordings of the interactions between Border Patrol agents and law enforcement related to a Bellingham incident that's also included in the complaint. Watch it below.
Stay tuned for more on this.
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