Threatened immigrant won’t be deported

A 58-year-old North Whidbey cattle farmer is accused of threatening an illegal immigrant who worked for him, court documents indicate.

Rafael Valdez pleaded not guilty in Island Superior Court Nov. 8 to a single count of felony harassment. If convicted of the charge, he could face from one to three months in jail.

A 39-year-old Oak Harbor man, who admitted he was in the country illegally, reported to the Island County Sheriff’s Office that Valdez had threatened him with violence a number of times, and had threatened to deport him, according to a report by Detective Robert Davison.

The man claimed Valdez recently threatened him with a pocket knife. Also, the man said Valdez forced him to work many hours on a Wagyu beef ranch without being compensated, Davison wrote.

The man told the deputy that he knows reporting Valdez would cost him his job and possibly result in his deportation, but he “felt the police or somebody needed to know what was going on in case something happened to him,” Davison wrote.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said his office won’t be turning the alleged victim over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The federal government provides protective status for crime victims who are in the country illegally.

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