This week's feature story, "The ICE Storm," is about one of the largest immigration raids in Washington history--the result of an ICE/Homeland Security investigation in Ellensburg that ended in the arrest or detention of at least 30 people--and the remarkable community response that followed. In addition to providing desperately needed food and financial assistance to the families affected by the raid, many citizens have spoken out against the aggressive tactics used by both federal and local law enforcement. Here's some video footage of a protest and community meeting held late last month.
photo by Keegan Hamilton
Kittitas County Undersheriff Clay Myers says that in his 25 years in law enforcement, he'd never seen a community react as feverishly as it did that night [at a community meeting]. Myers blames misinformation spread at the schools for stirring up tension, and maintains that his deputies simply followed protocol. "We didn't do anything unique or different," Myers says during an interview in his office, in which he sports a white cowboy hat and a pair of Wrangler jeans. "You can't just assume that everybody is going to be happy to see us and let us come in and talk over a cup of coffee. Of course these people are not animals, and we don't treat them like that. Were they allowed to put shirts on? No, not right away. Is that inhumane? I don't think so. His shirt wasn't on when we got there. Do we allow people to go to a closet or a drawer and dig shirts out? No. That's an unnecessary risk."
Murphree and approximately 100 of his fellow citizens were unmoved by Myers' and other officials' explanations during the meeting. Afterward, they formed an organization called the Ellensburg Coalition for Humanity, and gathered for a third consecutive night at the church. One of their first orders of business was to create an "immediate needs committee" to raise money and distribute essentials like food, diapers, and firewood to households impacted by the raid.
Murphree remains particularly incensed about instances in which family breadwinners have been barred by court order from working until their cases are resolved. "We were basically left with the impression that ICE came in with their style of doing things and they left the aftermath for the local people to have to deal with," he says. "And this community was not willing to have people thrown out in the street without food."
Click here to read the story in its entirety: The War on Mexicans Strikes Ellensburg One of the largest immigration raids in state history rocks Rodeo City
One of the largest immigration raids in state history rocks Rodeo City.