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ICE defends deportation practice at Boeing Field, condemns lawmakers

ICE released a statement on Friday defending its practice of deporting thousands of people through Boeing Field.

Editor's Note: The above video, which aired in 2017, highlights King County and Seattle leaders defending their sanctuary city status. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement defended its actions Friday to fly thousands of people out of Boeing Field on deportation flights. 

A report by the Unversity of Washington Center for Human Rights revealed this week that approximately 34,400 people have left Boeing Field on 466 deportation flights since 2010. 

In a statement to KING 5, ICE said in part, "It’s unfortunate to see yet another example of local policymaking aimed at intimidating ICE and our partners, particularly when such policies harm the very communities whose welfare they claim to protect, by making it more difficult to remove criminal aliens who prey upon the innocent."

On Tuesday, King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an order that directed the airport to amend lease practices so companies comply with the county's local immigration and human rights ordinances, specifically those that dictate not to cooperate or facilitate immigration enforcement directives unless under court order. The order also updated the airport's standards of reports and audits from businesses involved with immigration.  

As noted by the UW researchers, King County doesn't have a contract with ICE, nor does it receive major benefits. However, it does provide the infrastructure that allows private companies contracted with Homeland Security, contractors, and subcontractors, to profit, the report notes.  

In June 2018, Constantine said he learned Boeing Field was being used by ICE. 

"I can tell you, I’ve already talked to (King County) Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and we are going to do everything within our power – I’m going to do everything in my power – to make sure our publicly owned airport built by the people of this county is not used to perpetuate this brutality against people," he said in a statement. 

In February 2018, the King County Council approved an ordinance that was meant to limit collaboration of county officials with federal immigration enforcement. 

RELATED: Thousands of people deported out of Boeing Field, report reveals

The following is the full statement sent to KING 5 by ICE: 

“Federal immigration law provides extensive and rigorous procedures to be followed before an alien can be ordered removed from the United States, including a full and fair opportunity to pursue asylum and other forms of relief and protection from removal.  Once removal is ordered, generally by a federal immigration judge, it is the job of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to efficiently carry out the removal order.  ICE removes thousands of aliens each year, and does so humanely and in full compliance with domestic law and U.S. treaty obligations.  To suggest that the enforcement of federal immigration laws is somehow a human rights violation is irresponsible and reflects either a profound misunderstanding or willful mischaracterization of those laws and of the proper roles and responsibilities of the federal government and states and localities in ensuring that the laws are properly administered.

“ICE maintains that cooperation by local officials is an indispensable component of promoting public safety. It’s unfortunate to see yet another example of local policymaking aimed at intimidating ICE and our partners, particularly when such policies harm the very communities whose welfare they claim to protect, by making it more difficult to remove criminal aliens who prey upon the innocent.”