YAKIMA, WA - At the beginning of May several ground operators at the King County International Airport said they would stop providing service for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flights. The flights are a method of transporting people that have been detained by the agency.
On May 7, ICE started using the Yakima Air Terminal – McAllister Field to continue transporting people.
During Tuesday's city council meeting, many said they are not okay with this.
"Our community is a community of immigrants. Yakima is a community of immigrants! Like Yakima runs on a community of immigrants. That's what makes this town work and operate," said Noemi Sanchez, Yakima Immigration Response Network.
Yakima City Manager Cliff Moore says the City can't afford to stop this from happening.
"It's not like we're saying to ICE, 'please come use our airport.' As a government entity at a predominantly government-funded airport, based on our federal assurance grant agreement and also the contract that we have with our fixed based operator at the airfield, we feel that we are legally compelled to to allow this sort of activity," said Moore.
He also says that even if the City tried to stop the flights from happening, millions of dollars in funding would be lost.
Those who are not happy with the ICE flights say losing funding is not as important as losing a loved one.
"I feel very comfortable that a lot of us are okay with losing that federal funding. We'd rather have our family members here. Like who doesn't want their family members here. Who doesn't want our friend, who doesn't want our community members to be in our communities, like this is their home," said Sanchez.
Moore says although these flights are taking place at the Yakima Airport, there is no additional ICE enforcement in the area. He's been told they are just here to use the airport, and if anyone sees this being an issue, Moore says he would like to be notified.