Answers sought for review of WSP trooper who contacted federal immigration authorities

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, is seeking answers from Gov. Jay Inslee about an administrative review launched by his administration into the actions of a Washington State Patrol trooper. The review concerns the officer’s contact with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The officer made the contact after a routine driver’s license check revealed a notification request for a felony drug case. On Friday, O’Ban sent a letter to the governor concerning the review.

Chavez Corona’s driver’s license was checked after his car was involved in a February 9 accident on Interstate 5. The routine check revealed a notification request for a felony drug case. The trooper confirmed the details with federal immigration officials, who apprehended Corona a few hours later. In an email to reporters, immigration officials indicated Corona had an aggravated felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance and was deported at least four times from 1996 to 2000.

“Appropriately, President Obama stated, ‘if you are a criminal, you will be deported,’” O’Ban said. “Checking on a felony notification of a convicted felon here illegally should not subject a trooper to an administrative investigation. The State Patrol needs to know its officers are going to be supported when they’re doing their job.”

Individuals with aggravated felony convictions were a top priority for deportation under the Obama administration.

“There is no reason to confuse this public safety issue with the immigration debate happening in the other Washington.” said O’Ban.