David V. Beebe
Former District Director
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
511 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209
Bureaucrat for 25 years.
District Director for last 12 years
Retired on October 3, 2000
On August 19, 2000, a Chinese businesswoman, Guo Liming, traveling with a valid passport, was strip searched by INS inspectors at Portland International Airport, and jailed for two nights. INS officers failed to notify the Chinese consulate or Guo’s fiance, who was traveling with her, that she was in jail. She has filed a $500,000 lawsuit.
In September 2000, Claudia Young, a German national traveling with her U.S. husband and baby, was strip-searched, handcuffed and detained for a day before her deportation.
In the past year, the district INS office has moved all detained people from Multnomah County jails to remote county jails far from their lawyers, relatives, business contacts and employers. Beebe approved holding six Chinese teen-agers, who were seeking political asylum, in a jail for more than eight months, including a 15-year-old girl who was held after she was granted asylum. INS airport inspectors turned back an unusually high percentage of travelers, jailing many foreigners; they have recently promised to detain all but the most serious suspects in guarded hotel rooms.
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., called the treatment of Guo Liming “just a catalyst” in a series of abuses. Wu said he had a list of “shocking allegations of internal improprieties within the Portland INS office.” Wu declined to release a memo describing the allegations but sent them to the INS
Portland Mayor Vera Katz said that during a meeting with INS regional officials, they made clear that the Portland office treated travelers differently than do other West Coast inspectors. “Either Mr. Beebe is competent and everybody else is incompetent or vice versa,” Katz said.
On August 28, 2000, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post became the latest Asian newspaper to report the strip search incident. As a result of INS mistreatment of Asian travelers to Portland, Delta Air Lines will ground flights between Oregon and Japan. Asian travelers have nicknamed Portland “Deportland”.
These elected officials have demanded Beebe’s resignation:
– Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber
– U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Ore.
– U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who said he had never seen an operation more in need of change after “arbitrary, callous, bureaucratic behavior.”
– Portland Mayor Vera Katz
– Oregon state Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland
– U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash. called the INS Portland district a “rogue unit” that had engaged in “thuggish behavior.”
– U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash.
From now on, INS inspectors wanting to conduct a strip search will need approval of top Portland district managers, said Johnny Williams, Western Regional Director of the INS. Inspectors preparing to jail a traveler will also need higher supervisory approval, said Williams, who was not specific.
Beebe declined to comment. “I think the service should speak through its designated representative,” he said.
Sources. If the links are outdated, search The Oregonian‘s archives at: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/search.ssf
“Portland’s embattled INS chief to retire,” 9/20/00 Dallas Morning News (Associated Press).
“Beebe keeps post; INS reviews his leadership. Public officials renew calls for a resignation while discounting further looks at leadership,” 8/29/00 The Oregonian
“A Lame Response from the INS,” Op ed article. 8/29/00 The Oregonian
“Home found for Chinese refugee: A public outcry results in permanent foster placement for a teen-age girl held for months in a Portland juvenile jail,” 12/16/99 The Oregonian
“INS search of traveler exposes rift: An inspector’s union says she followed procedure when she strip-searched a Chinese woman at PDX, but the practice varies widely,” 9/3/00 The Oregonian
“Beebe: ‘I have to be who I am’: The man who has strictly and dispassionately enforced immigration law faces a fight that feels very personal,” 8/27/00 The Oregonian