King County airport operators will stop serving ICE flights

Three companies at Boeing Field have indicated they will not service deportation flights.

King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov

King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov

Ground service operators at King County International Airport will not serve Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flights following an executive order on April 23 directing the airport to find ways to stop deportation flights.

Following the executive order from King County Executive Dow Constantine, leadership from Modern Aviation, which is one of three ground service providers at the airport, commonly known as Boeing Field, said they would stop providing service for Swift Air flights, a private contractor ICE uses for deportations. A press release from the county stated that the other two service providers indicated they would not pick up the service.

Swift Air is a Phoenix-based air service provider and is thought to be the only charter used by ICE at the King County airport. Modern Aviation said it would not be providing hangar space and refueling facilities for the charter flights and Kenmore Aero Services and Signature Flight Support, the other two providers, have told airport officials they will not contract with Swift Air for immigration flights.

These decisions puts teeth behind Constantine’s proclamation last month that he wanted to see ICE stop using the county-owned airport for deportation flights.

ICE is not required to report its passenger logs or when it is using the airport for deportation flights. However, a study by the University of Washington estimated that over the past eight years, some 34,400 people have been deported through the airport. On average, roughly 360 people are shipped through the airport every month, with the highest volume recorded occurring in 2011 under the Obama administration.

The number of people being deported through the airport dropped to 238 in 2015, the study found, but under President Donald Trump’s administration, numbers are beginning to rise again. The majority of deportation flights from the airport are destined for Arizona and Texas, where deportees are placed on international flights or simply bused across the border to Mexico.

Of those deported, the report found that 2,615 were shipped away without a chance to see an immigration judge through expedited removal or similar processes.

In addition to the announcement from King County International Airport service providers, county staff have said they plan on installing cameras to monitor ICE activity. The airport was signed over to King County in the 1940s with a condition that it allow federal flights to use it. However, since ICE is using private contractors, it could allow the county a legal case to challenge the flights.

Airport officials said they expect legal challenges from ICE stemming from their decision to try and restrict deportation flights.

More in News

KCSO found all but one of the 108 allegations of excessive or unnecessary use of force were justified

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight has released its annual 2018 report.

Council votes to suspend recording of open public comment unrelated to agenda

It was a close 4-3 vote. Only non-agenda item discussion will go dark.

Photo by Natalie DeFord
                                Brenden Elwood, Jeanne Pettersen, Mayor Ken Hearing, Alan Gothelf and Ross Loudenback perform the ribbon cutting at a special ceremony at North Bend’s new City Hall Sept. 5.
North Bend’s new City Hall has ribbon cutting

City Hall is now located in the geographic center of town.

SVSD introduces advisory course for middle schools

All three middle schools will have an advisory course for each grade level to help prepare students for high school and beyond.

MSHS student photoshop rendering of what the new Wildcat Way street signs may look like. Photo captured from the Aug. 26 city council meeting
Meadowbrook Way to have honorary name “Wildcat Way”

City council approved the longtime MSHS request to have new honorary street name.

Mount Si Montessori is celebrating 30 years in the Valley. Madison Miller / staff photo
Mount Si Montessori to celebrate 30 years in the Valley

Mount Si Montessori has served nearly 1,600 children in 30 years.

North Bend failed to properly mitigate water for six weeks

The mitigation error stemmed from an incorrectly installed flow meter on Centennial Well.

Non-utilities Capital Improvement Plan diagram. Photo courtesy of the City of Snoqualmie
Snoqualmie Council passes 2020-2025 non-utilities Capital Improvement Plan

$49 million for 27 projects, $10 million for Community Center Expansion.

Most Read