Agency weighs in after arrest of parent led school district to reach out to lawmakers

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 28

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Federal police stand guard outside the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement facility in Southwest Portland during a May Day demonstration in May 2019.  Tigard-Tualatin School District officials confirmed Thursday that a parent of two students was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials near a bus stop last week, as a school bus approached.

Tigard-Tualatin School Board members spoke publicly about the incident Monday, Feb. 24, noting the father of two TTSD students was taken into custody at a school bus stop moments after dropping off his children last Wednesday, Feb. 19.

PMG PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Sue Rieke-Smith, superintendent of Tigard-Tualatin School District, speaks during a community presentation about the Student Success Act. Earlier this week, the superintendent said she wants to see more areas off limits to ICE agents.Pamplin Media Group first reported that Sue Rieke-Smith, superintendent of TTSD, said she was in the process of calling on Oregon lawmakers to expand the list of sensitive locations, where ICE agents avoid arrests. Rieke-Smith said her district would like to see "bus stops, which are an extension of our district, be designated as safe zones, as well as off-limits."

ICE provided additional details about the arrest and clarified its policies regarding arrests near educational facilities and similar areas.

"On Feb 19, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers identified Tomas Galvan-Rodriguez and conducted a routine traffic stop," Tanya Roman, a public affairs officer with ICE, stated. "Galvan-Rodriguez is currently pending immigration proceedings before a federal immigration judge."

The agency says its list of sensitive locations already includes schools, pre-schools, daycare centers, and "school bus stops that are marked and/or known to the officer, during periods when school children are present at the stop," according to ICE.

"The location of Galvan-Rodriguez's traffic stop and subsequent arrest did not occur at a known marked school bus stop or a location that was previously known to the officers," Roman added.

News of the arrest prompted the Oregon Department of Education to issue guidanceOregon Department of Education to issue guidance to superintendants throughout the state Thursday, with tips to "protect students and ease fears."

Traci Rose, community relations director for the school district, said most of the district's school bus stops are not marked, in an effort to protect students.

"The enforcement officers did not know that was a bus stop," Rose said. "The unfortunate part of this is that it was right next to a bus stop and it happened as a bus was pullling up."

The ICE spokesperson said Galvan-Rodriguez is a Mexican citizen who is in the U.S. illegally. She declined to comment on whether he has family members or a spouse in the area.

She pointed to two prior convictions on his record, dating back to 2008 and 2004.

Court records show Galvan-Rodriguez was convicted of a class 'C' misdemeanor in 2008 for theft of services, or larceny.

Prior to that, he had a separate misdemeanor conviction for failure to perform the duties of a driver, following a non-injury hit-and-run causing property damage in 2004.

School district officials said Monday that the students whose father was arrested are being offered wrap-around services by agencies including The Latino Network. They declined to provide additional information, citing student privacy laws.

In Oregon, law enforcement agencies are prohibited from using state resources to enforce federal immigration law if a person's only crime is being in the country illegally, but a wave of recent subpoenas from ICE has left Washington County police forced to cooperate with requests for information.

One ICE agent speaking on background warned that Oregon's sanctuary laws would only be met with "more at-large targeted enforcement actions."

School board revisits resolution crafted to make students feel safe

Some of the elected school board members said Monday they wanted to re-affirm Resolution 1617-16, "Supporting Students and Families," which was passed in 2017. That resolution emphasized the district's core values, and sought to ensure students felt safe and welcome, regardless of their immigration status or background.

Tigard-Tualatin board members introduced the resolution three years ago as federal enforcement efforts began to ramp up around the U.S.

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