Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts said he immediately had reservations — moral ones — after he found out about the subpoenas.
His state agency in Montana would have to send labor data to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And as a legal secretary for the state’s labor department, Dyrdahl-Roberts would have to help process those documents — information that he said would no doubt be used to track down and deport undocumented workers.
So he talked to his wife, and without much debate they agreed on what he had to do, he said.
He quit the following day.
It was not an easy decision, Dyrdahl-Roberts told The Washington Post.
He has a 4-year-old child, a wife who is working as a substitute librarian while attending graduate school, two cats and about $900 left in his checking account. Quitting would also make him ineligible for unemployment insurance.
Co-workers tried to talk him out of it, he said, and some wondered why he had to do it.
“People have asked why am I doing this if I have a child. I’m doing this because I have a child,” Dyrdahl-Roberts wrote on Twitter. “I want to be able to look my child in the eye.”
Following orders from ICE meant having a hand in breaking families apart, he said — and he refused to follow such orders.
Carl Rusnok, a regional spokesman for ICE, said the agency routinely issues subpoenas to local, state and federal departments, as well as private companies, as part of ongoing investigations. Rusnok declined to comment further.
Montana’s labor department has received 14 subpoenas from the federal Department of Homeland Security since 2014, and the state agency is legally bound to respond to them, said its spokesman, Jake Troyer.
The most recent subpoenas requested UI-5 forms — quarterly wage reports filled out by employers in Montana, the Helena Independent Record reported.
“The Department is in communication with Jordon, and it’s our understanding his decision to resign is purely based on his personal opposition to the federal administration’s rhetoric on immigration,” Troyer said in an email to The Post. “Jordon’s involvement in the process of responding to subpoenas was limited to assisting attorneys with processing requests.”
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