Portland Police will stop allowing federal immigration enforcement officials to share a training facility near the airport, an agreement the bureau now says stands in contradiction to Portland’s professed status as a sanctuary city.
Since last December, the city has contracted with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allowing officers from two branches of the agency to share the nearly 10-acre training center. According to the bureau, 38 law-enforcement agencies pay to train in the facility, which offers classrooms, firearms ranges and a mock village.
Portland’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America first asked City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office to look into the contract in early September after details of the agreement were released by Sludge, an investigative journalism outlet.
Last week, the city attorney alerted the Police Bureau that its agreement with the enforcement and removal arm of ICE could conflict with Portland’s sanctuary city resolution, which prohibits the use of city funds, personnel or equipment to enforce federal immigration law.
After a review, Deputy Chief Jami Resch informed ICE's enforcement and removal operations that they were terminating the agreement. As of this week, the city had billed the division for $13,881.80, according to the Bureau.
“A mistake was made due to miscommunication during the contract approval process,” said Police Chief Danielle Outlaw in a statement. “When the oversight was brought to our attention, we took immediate action.”
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations arm, which investigates cross-border criminal activity, will still be able to use the facility. The Bureau says the branch “does not enforce immigration law,” and therefore does not risk violating the city’s sanctuary status.
Portland's chapter of the DSA called on Mayor Ted Wheeler Wednesday to go further and terminate all of the city's financial ties to the federal immigration agency.
“These contracts and the continued presence of ICE in its facility on Macadam Ave are incongruent with the sanctuary status of the City,” the group wrote in a statement.
Since the contract with ICE was initiated last year, the police bureau says they have implemented a new contract process. Contracts with the police are now vetted by the city attorney’s office, as well as the bureau’s Fiscal Services Division and the police chief’s office before they are implemented.