King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an order that directs King County International Airport to amend lease practices with the goal of banning flights of immigration detainees chartered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The action applies to companies that operate hangar space and other facilities. Meanwhile, King County International Airport will update its rules to make ICE flights more transparent.
In June 2018, King County became aware that ICE was transporting immigrant detainees through King County International Airport via charter aircraft.
Since that time, King County officials from the Executive’s Office, airport, and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office have reviewed operations and legal options to better understand ICE activities. At Executive Constantine’s direction, King County also reached out to advocacy groups to begin formulating a response.
Neither ICE nor its private contract air-carriers are obligated to file passenger manifests or flight schedules with King County. King County cannot board planes to inspect passengers or cargo, nor direct federal air traffic controllers to prevent any plane from landing.
On April 23, Executive Constantine signed an order to ensure future long-term leases with companies that operate hangars and other facilities at King County International Airport comply with local immigration and human rights ordinances. Specifically, ordinances that dictate that King County will not cooperate or facilitate immigration enforcement directives unless accompanied by a court order.
The Executive Order also updates King County International Airport’s “Minimum Standards” to provide reports and audits from businesses involved with transporting immigration detainees.
King County International Airport will, to the extent possible, install security cameras at public ramps and other key locations.
“Here in King County, we are a welcoming community that respects the rights of all people. My Executive Order seeks to make sure all those who do business with King County uphold the same values,” said Executive Constantine. “Our goal is to ban flights of immigrant detainees from our publicly owned airport, and I hope members of Congress shine a light on this practice and how it is currently funded.”
Here in King County, we are a welcoming community that respects the rights of all people. My Executive Order seeks to make sure all those who do business with King County uphold the same values. Our goal is to ban flights of immigrant detainees from our publicly owned airport, and I hope members of Congress shine a light on this practice and how it is currently funded.
As a sanctuary county, it is important that our airport complies with all local immigration and human rights ordinances. I applaud Executive Constantine’s actions and am committed to doing everything within our power to uphold the rights of every King County resident and do our part to raise awareness about infringing on immigrant rights.
Residents need to know that King County will do everything possible to prevent Donald Trump from obstructing their safety and wellbeing. We will not be party to the ongoing intimidation and bullying of this administration. This is a smart, thoughtful step that we can take to ensure we remain a welcoming county for all residents, regardless of where one was born.
For more information, contact:
Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966