Protesters shut down Portland ICE facility

Protesters shut down Portland ICE facility
© Getty

One person was arrested Tuesday after Portland protesters shut down a facility used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants.

A guard told a woman trying to get into the building that the prison “is closed and ‘it’s unknown when it will open,’” because of the protests, according to a report from Raw Story.

The protests reportedly began on Sunday and are in response to the Trump administration's controversial policy of separating children from families caught crossing the border illegally.

ADVERTISEMENT

The so-called "zero tolerance" policy has sparked criticism from both parties and led to protests across the country.

Over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border over the last six weeks, according to The Associated Press.

According to Raw Story, protesters on Monday evening blockaded a garage, preventing ICE vehicles and employees from leaving the facility, which is used to temporarily house detained immigrants.

Eventually, employees left using another entrance.

A local activist told Raw Story that about 10 Portland police officers arrived on Tuesday to escort the remaining ICE employees out of the building.

ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell told The Hill that the agency "fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference" and "ICE remains committed to immigration enforcement consistent with federal law and agency policy."

"The Federal Protective Service was called to the ICE office on Macadam Avenue Tuesday afternoon due to security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests at this location," she added.

The Protective Service told The Hill that one person was arrested during the protests on Tuesday afternoon, saying the arrest came "as demonstrators surrounded the vehicle of a departing employee."

"Federal Protective Service Officers gave multiple verbal warnings for the demonstrators to clear the area, one male demonstrator was arrested on state charges of interfering with a peace officer and obstruction of governmental administration," said Robert Sperling, a spokesman with the Protective Service.

After the arrest, the Occupy ICE Portland Twitter account tweeted, "There’s been 1 [arrest]! We need people here ASAP!"

The Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America said on Twitter that the ICE office had been closed for the day.

An ICE spokesman confirmed in a statement to Oregon Public Broadcasting on Wednesday that operations at the facility had been "temporarily halted due to security concerns."

“Normal operations will resume once security concerns have been addressed," it added.

The Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America has been touting the protests online and a GoFundMe for Occupy ICE Portland has raised $4,272 since Tuesday.

The Occupy ICE Portland Twitter said that there were around 1,000 protestors outside of the prison on Tuesday night.

"The detention center is still closed. They haven’t been able to move cars in and out for the past three days. For the most part, it’s been rendered non-operational," Garrett Hour, one of the protest organizers, told The Hill.

"We have two things we want out of this: the first one is, and this is something we’re happy to see and we’re making a lot of progress with it, today, they are ending the separation policy," he continued.

"The second one is the complete abolition of ICE. It’s an organization which was born out of fear and xenophobia after 9/11. Many Americans don’t realize it’s completely unnecessary for managing immigration in our country. Other countries don’t have ICE."

Protestors are planning a similar protest outside of the ICE offices in Los Angeles today.

Updated: 5:02 p.m.