Human Rights at Home
ICE Air Deportation Flights
ICE Air Operations is the international network of for-profit, privately chartered deportation flights run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In late 2018, at the request of community research partners interested in learning more about deportation flights via King County International Airport (Boeing Field), UWCHR submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for records regarding ICE Air locally and nationwide.
These records, and additional research supported by a Jackson School of International Studies student-led Task Force, led to an April 2019 report series, “Hidden in Plain Sight: ICE Air and the Machinery of Mass Deportation”, documenting the national ICE Air network and its operations in King County. Following the release of this report and advocacy by UWCHR community research partners, King County Executive Dow Constantine issued an order expressing the intention to renegotiate airport leases to stop such flights. Soon after, the companies which support flights at Boeing Field voluntarily committed not to service flights involving immigration detainees.
In May 2019, regular ICE Air deportation flights began at Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field in Eastern Washington. Continued research unveiled a shadowy network of charter flight companies, ICE contractors, and professional and collegiate sports travel, leading to a June 2022 report, “Abuses in the Air: Sports Travel and the Deportation Industry.” UWCHR continues to research topics related to ICE Air in support of organizations and community groups monitoring deportation flights nationwide.
Watch our video explainer and read our research reports below!