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ICE Accused of Brutal Treatment in WA Traffic Stop

Protesters line up on Friday outside an immigrant holding station in Ferndale, Wash., where they believe a man brutally handled by ICE was being held. (Community to Community Development)
Protesters line up on Friday outside an immigrant holding station in Ferndale, Wash., where they believe a man brutally handled by ICE was being held. (Community to Community Development)
January 27, 2020

EVERSON, Wash. -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are being accused of brutally taking a Washington man into custody.

A farmworker, who only wants to be identified by his first name, Madardo, was in the car with his wife and children when ICE pulled him over in Everson. According to his wife, agents aggressively asked Madardo to open his door, hurling racial slurs at him, but he refused. The agents called for backup, and when the man still refused their orders, they smashed his window and dragged him from the car.

Australia Hernandez Cosby is a local community organizer with the immigrant farmworkers' rights group Community to Community Development.

"The father exercised his right to say, you know, 'Hey, y'all have a warrant signed by a judge?' And they're like, 'No, we don't. We're above the law,'" Hernandez Cosby said. "That was a really prominent quote there that they said they were above the law."

ICE said Madardo has been voluntarily returned to Mexico on three separate occasions, although they did not say he had a criminal record other than entering the country illegally. The agency added breaking a car window is routine in law-enforcement work when someone refuses to comply with the law.

Madardo is in custody at the Northwest ICE processing center in Tacoma.

Hernandez Cosby said she's heard reports of escalating tactics from ICE across the state, such as forced entry into cars and houses. However, she said this case has hit close to home.

"He works in our community, he lives here with his children. They're part of the community. They help support our community with agriculture," she said. "And we just don't need that. We don't need family members like this taken. These shouldn't be priorities for ICE or anyone to be separating families."

Community to Community Development said there is a connection between the arrest and the hours-long detainment of more than 60 Iranian-Americans at the Canadian border earlier this year, noting both took place in Whatcom County and under Customs and Border Patrol's watch.

Disclosure: Community to Community Development contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues, Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA