Skip to main content
King County logo

Document Code No.: PFC-7-1 EO 
Department/Issuing Agency: County Executive's Office
Effective Date: April 23, 2019
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 204 KB)

PREAMBLE.  King County proudly upholds the fundamental, self-evident truth announced at our nation's founding: that all people are created equal, while embracing the basic American value that we are a nation of opportunity for all.  Immigrants and refugees are welcome in King County, and our region has acted decisively to become more inclusive, removing barriers to affordable housing, transit, health, economic opportunity and promoting strong childhood development for everyone.  King County continues to uphold the same values and move forward with effective actions that set our region apart as a leader in protecting the rights of all people in our communities, and continues to not tolerate discrimination, harassment, expressions of hate, or any behavior intended to promote fear, intimidation, or isolation.

WHEREAS, effective policies have been put in place to guarantee that King County does not partner nor collaborate with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, demonstrated by King County’s refusal to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention detainers without a valid court order with regard to its correctional facilities;

WHEREAS, King County International Airport is not a party to any contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or any other government agency involved in the deportation of immigration detainees. In 2018, King County became aware that aircraft operated by charter operators were providing services to Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the airport and using King County International Airport as a location for transportation of immigration detainees.  At the direction of the King County Executive, King County supported the efforts of interested advocacy groups in the community and began formulating a response to the issues raised by these troubling immigration practices;

WHEREAS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses airports across the United States, and charters flights to transport immigration detainees;

WHEREAS, none of the charter operators who conduct operations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been specifically authorized to conduct business at, or has a lease to conduct a business at, King County International Airport;

WHEREAS, recent research has documented  that the use of King County International Airport as a location for the transportation of detainees could lead to human rights abuses and violations in contravention of the policies and ordinances of King County and international treaty obligations concerning human rights;

WHEREAS, the use of King County International Airport in this manner is inconsistent with the County’s obligation to operate the airport in a safe and efficient manner for all persons, not just citizens, and further use of King County International Airport in this manner would be detrimental to the public welfare and could adversely affect the willingness or ability of other persons to use, or engage in businesses at, King County International Airport with a negative effect on the financial sustainability of King County International Airport;

WHEREAS, because deportations raise deeply troubling human rights concerns which are inconsistent with the values of King County, including  separations of families, increases of racial disproportionality in policing, deportations of people into unsafe situations in other countries, and constitutional concerns of due process, King County shall take affirmative steps to bring transparency and accountability to the business practices of its airport businesses regarding the use of the facilities for deportation flights.

NOW, THEREFORE, I Dow Constantine, King County Executive do hereby order and direct:

King County International Airport shall not support the transportation and deportation of immigration detainees in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, either traveling within or arriving or departing the United States or its territories. King County shall adhere to any rulings or orders of any court of competent jurisdiction in carrying out the directives provided herein. The Department of Executive Services shall coordinate with King County International Airport and the Facilities Management Division to take the following action:

1.  Take appropriate actions, consistent with the County’s federal obligations, to minimize County cooperation with, facilitation of, and permission for, operations associated with transportation of immigration detainees.

2.  Work with our Congressional delegation to change the law to address the deportation practices that give rise to abuses of human and civil rights.

3.  Ensure that all future leases, operating permits and other authorizations for commercial activity at King County International Airport contain a prohibition against providing aeronautical or non-aeronautical services to enterprises engaged in the business of deporting immigration detainees (except for federal government aircraft), to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.

4.  Develop procedures for exercising King County’s rights under existing leases at King County International Airport to ensure strict lessee compliance with applicable laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies of King County regarding human trafficking and the servicing of any aircraft engaged in the business of deportation of immigration detainees, including, without limitation King County Code Chapter 2.15 and this Executive Order.

5.  Revise and formally adopt the King County International Airport Minimum Standards and develop other rules and regulations as needed to require operating permits for charter carriers, and create reporting responsibilities and audit procedures, with respect to human trafficking and immigration detainee deportation activities, for King County International Airport lessees involved in the provision of aeronautical services.

6.  Revise and formally adopt amendments to existing rules and regulations and King County Code Title 15 in a manner consistent with King County Code Chapter 2.15 and this Executive Order.

7.  Work with King County International Airport and the Facilities Management Division to study the feasibility of installing security cameras in the vicinity of the airfield and adjacent aprons and ramps.

8.  Prepare updates on a quarterly basis detailing the progress of implementing the policies provided herein.


/s/ Dow Constantine, King County Executive


/s/ Norm Alberg,

Director, Records and Licensing Services Division, Department of Executive Services