King County moves to ban some chartered ICE flights from Boeing Field

SEATTLE -- King County Executive Dow Constantine has signed a directive that aims to ban U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from using Boeing Field for chartered flights to transport immigrant detainees unless there's a court order.

According to a news release from King County, officials learned in June 2018 that ICE was using charter planes to transport immigrant detainees through King County International Airport - Boeing Field.

An investigation found that neither ICE nor its private contract air-carriers are required 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.

That's what led Constantine to sign a directive that says future long-term leases with companies operating out of Boeing Field must comply with local immigration ordinances. King County does not cooperate with ICE agents or facilitate immigration enforcement directives unless accompanied by a court order.

The executive order also updates Boeing Field's “minimum standards” to provide reports and audits from businesses involved with transporting immigration detainees.

The airport will install security cameras at public ramps and other key locations to monitor activity, officials said.

“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,” Constantine said in a prepared statement. “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.”