Following a traffic accident on Interstate 5 in Washington state earlier this month, a state trooper ran a routine check on one of the drivers.
Armando Chavez Corona didn't cause the accident in Tacoma on Feb. 9, but the trooper's check prompted a message from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Chavez Corona was a previously deported felon and to contact ICE for confirmation, State Patrol spokesman Kyle Moore told the News Tribune.
Chavez Corona was convicted of a felony drug charge and deported four times between 1996 and 2000, ICE officials told the paper.
When ICE officials got to the accident scene, they took Chavez Corona into custody, and he was awaiting deportation as of Wednesday, the News Tribune said.
Now the state police are reviewing the trooper's actions.
Turns out the Washington State Patrol "has a policy to not stop, detain or interrogate or place an immigration hold on any person solely for the purpose of ascertaining immigration status or in any other way attempt to enforce federal immigration laws," the News Tribune reported.
But Moore told the paper that administrative reviews are common there and that the trooper hasn’t been placed on leave or disciplined: “This is just a routine review of whether this trooper followed our policies."
Moore added to the News Tribune that Chavez Corona wasn't arrested or detained longer than the time it took to clear the accident scene, and that the ICE message didn't call for an arrest.
Grace Chavez, the American-born wife of Chavez Corona, told the paper she's weighing legal action against the state police. The couple has three children, all who are U.S. citizens, she added to the News-Tribune.
“They violated our rights,” Grace Chavez told the paper. “He was the victim of the accident.”
But a Republican lawmaker from Tacoma isn't happy about what's happening to the trooper.
“I’m concerned that this investigation is motivated at least in part by the governor nationalizing this issue, when it shouldn’t be,” State Sen. Steve O’Ban told the News Tribune.
O'Ban also wrote a letter to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee about the incident, calling the trooper review “puzzling, if not deeply concerning,” the paper said, adding that Inslee has been critical of Republican President Donald Trump's immigration policies of late.
“I fear launching an administrative review of this routine and common-sense procedure sends a chilling message to WSP troopers and to other law enforcement personnel that undermines public safety by discouraging officers from gaining potentially vital information from federal authorities,” O’Ban wrote, the News Tribune said.
The governor’s office confirmed it received O’Ban’s letter but wouldn't comment on it, the paper said.
(H/T: Washington Examiner)