Portland, OR – Protesters camped outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in southwest Portland were issued a notice to vacate on Monday, after the facility was forced to shut down due to security concerns raised by blocked sidewalks and entrances leading into the building.
Dozens of protesters have surrounded the facility for a solid week, KATU reported.
On Tuesday, officials were forced to shut down the ICE headquarters in Portland, and provided security to help employees get out of the building after protesters blocked the entrance.
Because of the shutdown, immigrants have been unable to attend their scheduled appointments, which inhibited their ability to access services.
The protesters’ ultimate goal was to abolish ICE, so they believed the fact that the office temporarily shut down was a good sign, KATU reported.
“We’re the ones who shut the building down,” Jacob Bureros, an organizer with Direct Action Alliance, a group that helped block the ICE office and cause the shutdown, told The Oregonian. “”It’s not their fault they can’t get to their appointment.”
The protest that was supposed to support immigrants and express dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance policy” for those who cross the U.S. border illegally has actually made things more difficult for immigrants who are trying to follow the law.
Mary Ann Warner told The Oregonian she was helping to coordinate translators and rides for immigrants who actually needed to get to their meetings at the facility that protesters blocked.
She said people have been showing up for their appointments and can’t check in.
“My parents are immigrants, and the last thing I’d want them to experience would be missing check in,” Warner said. “That’s a terrifying place to be in.”
Early Monday morning, a team of ICE agents and Federal Protective Service officers arrived and secured the building, KATU reported.
The team began handing out notices to vacate to the dozens of protesters at approximately 10:30 a.m.
The crowd was warned to “stop interrupting government business,” but officers have not said how exactly they planned to clear the camp as of Monday.
The Portland Police Department said they would not participate in any sweeps of the camp that might be forthcoming.
“In line with the Mayor and Police Commissioner’s directions, the Police Bureau is not involved in activity related to the exercise of people’s First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech and Assembly at the ICE Facility located near SW Macadam Ave and SW Boundary St,” the department said, according to KATU.
The announcement followed a June 20 tweet from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said that he found the protest to be quite peaceful.
“I want to be very clear I do not want the Portland Police to be engaged or sucked into a conflict, particularly from a federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track that has not fully lived American values of inclusion and is also an agency where the former head suggested that people who lead cities that are sanctuary cities like this one should be arrested,” Wheeler tweeted.
Bureros said protesters have volunteered to provide rides home or to the Tacoma ICE office for those who have be inconvenienced by the tent city that has blocked the street in front of the Portland office, The Oregonian reported.
He said their group has received “loads of donations” including cash, and they’re passing the contributions on to the immigrants who have showed up for their appointments as compensation for missing their check-in meetings.
It appears that the demonstrators’ effectiveness at disrupting immigrants’ ability to cooperate with ICE has caught on in other areas, as well.
On Monday, demonstrators with the Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights gathered in Detroit to stage a protest outside the ICE office on Elliot Street, WDIV reported.
Beginning at approximately 5 a.m., the group blocked entry into the ICE building and called on President Trump to resign.
“Trump has committed a massive crime against humanity and must resign now,” BAMN said in a press release, according to WDIV. “We cannot allow a mass child abuser to remain president of the United States.”
“By shutting down the ICE office, we are enforcing Detroit’s sanctuary city status,” the group’s statement continued. “The official policy of the Detroit Police Department is to not cooperate with and assist ICE, so we expect no interference from Detroit police.”
BAMN also urged a “national mass mobilization” to the Texas border to free detainees, abolish camps, and reunite children with their incarcerated parents.
Meanwhile, in New York, all hearings scheduled at the ICE processing center on Varick Street were cancelled on Monday, after protesters blocked the dock that ICE agents needed to access in order to transport immigrants to and from the facility, The Washington Post reported.
Protesters in Los Angeles also encouraged crowds to gather at the Alameda Street ICE building on Saturday.
As long as the protests continue, the Portland ICE offices will continue to be closed, federal officials said, according to KATU.
“ICE will resume operations at the Macadam Avenue location once there are no longer security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests there,” the agency said, according to KATU. “ICE deportation officers will contact individuals to reschedule any appointments at this location. These appointments will not be reported as missed check-ins.”