ICE Forced To Shutdown Portland Office After Protestors Camp Outside Over US Immigration Policy
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland has had to temporarily close after dozens of protestors camped outside the building in protest over Trump’s immigration policies, including separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
The group identify themselves as #OccupyICEPDX and are protesting with the intention of getting rid of ICE and the government’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards immigration.
On Wednesday, US President Trump caved into public pressure and signed an executive order to keep the families together despite claiming that only legislators could stop the separation from happening.
Around 500 of 2,300 children have been reunited with their families according to the Associated Press, but it still remains unclear what will happen with the rest of the children who have already been separated.
A labour organiser and Portland native claimed that they aim to ‘Occupy with a purpose – Abolish ICE’ with the idea to continue their protest until changes are made and action is taken.
The protest has spread to 8 cities including Washington D.C., New York and Los Angeles and it has a camp that provides food, water, security and medical care to protestors who are based outside the ICE offices, whilst also providing other forms of help.
According to one organiser, on Monday ICE employees from the Portland office tried to leave work in their cars but protestors blocked the exit by locking arms with each other. This caused the workers to go back into the building and forced police officers to negotiate with the protestors.
Police asked protestors to kindly move so that the employees could go home to their families, to which protestors replied: “What about the families that are being held in the ICE office?”
It wasn’t until the following day when DHS police arrived at the scene to create an area for the employees to exit.
The Mayor of Portland advised Portland police to not be engaged or sucked into the conflict. ICE have confirmed they won’t continue operations at the site until “there are no longer security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests”.
The Portland protestors vow to stay until they are forced to move or ICE is removed.