In this still image from a vide, detainees are loaded onto a Swift Air charter flight at King County International Airport (Boeing Field) in Seattle, WA for a February 26 ICE Air flight under callsign RPN 529.
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In this still image from a vide, detainees are loaded onto a Swift Air charter flight at King County International Airport (Boeing Field) in Seattle, WA for a February 26 ICE Air flight under callsign RPN 529.

U.S. Department of Justice sues King County over deportation flights

U.S. Attorney Brian Moran explains the lawsuit. University of Washington researcher and director of the Center for Human Rights Angelina Godoy explains what's going on with these ICE flights.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing King County for banning deportation flights from Boeing Field. King County announced it would phase out ICE-chartered flights. Since then, detainees have flown out of Yakima.

U.S. Attorney Brian Moran spoke to Bill Radke about the lawsuit.

"There's no requirement that King County cooperate overtly with federal immigration authorities but there is a requirement that they not impede or interfere," said Moran.

When Radke asked about the difference between not cooperating and not interfering, the U.S. Attorney said, "I think not cooperating is, if they were to say, we're not gonna give you information about other flight routes, services available at King County air -- affirmatively push out information. But as King County is saying in this county executive order, you can't get gas, you can't get fuel, if you blow a tire when you land you can't get it replaced, that's just flat out interference."

The lawsuit alleges that King County is violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the Airline Deregulation Act, and the Supremacy Clause.

The U.S. Attorney also said it doesn't matter that the chartered flights are contracted to work with the federal government: "Regardless of who is operating a flight, it still impairs and interferes with the airline deregulation act which says you cannot interfere with service, route, or price."