Bellevue Police Department clashes with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents make arrest

On Sept. 30, 2019, Carlos Daniel Carillo-Lopez was one of four arrested for the April 3 murder of Josue Flores, 18, in Bellevue’s Goldsmith Park. Already out on bail for an unrelated robbery charge, Carrillo-Lopez is accused of being a member of the Crossroads Locos 13, a violent gang who have made headlines over several shootings in King County over the past few years. This was the first murder in Bellevue in three years and made headlines when the teenager was found shot to death.

            Carillo-Lopez is a citizen of Guatemala who does not have a valid visa and is here illegally. Each of the four times he was previously arrested in 2019, ICE lodged detainer requests, and each time King county authorities ignored the requests and released Carillo-Lopez.

            An ICE detainer, also called an “immigration hold” is a written request asking local officials to hold suspects who are in the country illegally an extra 48 hours to give ICE agents time to decide whether or not to take the suspect into federal custody for deportation.

            This time, Carillo-Lopez has so far remained behind bars, although that is likely due to bail being set in excess of $2,000,000 and not sudden cooperation between Bellevue PD and ICE.

            Washington legislation passed in 2019 prohibits police in Washington from asking immigration status except when it is relevant to a criminal investigation. The new legislation also bars state detention facilities from complying with federal immigration holds or notifying ICE when they release inmates.

Local jurisdictions protecting undocumented criminals have been a hot button issue for years and cases like that of Carrillo-Lopez can paint these rules in a bad light, but it is important to remember that Washington’s new legislation was not made for murderers and robbers, but to protect people arrested for small crimes, such as the single mother who was arrested for driving without a license in Georgia and subsequently deported.

 According to Tanya Roman, spokeswoman for ICE, these laws pose a problem: “ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety. It’s unfortunate that current local and state laws and policies tie the hands of local law enforcement agencies that want and need to work with ICE to promote public safety by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and closure for their victim.”

            Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett responded to the situation recently: “The position this police department has taken will continue to be the way that we approach this. We follow state law.” Mylett added that under specific and strict circumstances the local police will work with ICE.