Forks resident figures in rights group’s complaint
by Paul Gottlieb, Peninsula Daily News, May 6, 2012
A Forks woman who was with Benjamin Roldan Salinas on May 14, 2011, before his fatal flight from Border Patrol agents was among six people whose interactions with the Border Patrol were cited in a complaint filed last week with the federal government.
Roldan Salinas’ body was found June 5, 2011, in the Sol Duc River 3 miles east of Sappho and about 4 miles downstream from where he fled the traffic stop.
The complaint filed by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project focuses on traffic stops that involved translation assistance that was requested of the Border Patrol by various law enforcement officers.
The woman, identified in the complaint as M.N., was the same person who was traveling as a passenger with Roldan Salinas, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Legal Director Matt Adams confirmed Friday.
After Roldan Salinas fled, the woman, who is the mother of two children who are U.S. citizens, was arrested on an immigration violation.
The immigrant advocacy group filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Here’s the complaint’s account of the traffic stop that involved Roldan Salinas and his companion:
The woman and Roldan Salinas, of the West End, were traveling on U.S. Highway 101 when the vehicle was pulled over by a U.S. Forest Service officer who began questioning the two about permits for harvesting salal.
When a Border Patrol vehicle arrived, Roldan Salinas fled.
The woman was detained by the Border Patrol and transferred to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center while her children were cared for by community members.
The statement from the Border Patrol said the Forest Service officer had requested translation assistance.
“However, the incident report filed by the USFS officer makes clear that the officer called a U.S. Border Patrol agent prior to making contact with the occupants of the vehicle,” according to the complaint.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.