A group of protesters have been camping outside a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement prison in south Portland since Sunday, and they intend to stay until the Trump administration stops its policy of separating children from their parents.
DHS officers even asked protesters to stop their blockade so ICE employees could go home to their families, completely missing the irony of what ICE employees are doing to the family members they separated and locked up.
The #OccupyICEPDX protesters gathered on father’s day for a rally and march at the building, according to Raw Story.
“I live in this neighborhood,” protester Hanna Tashjian said. “I don’t want this in my neighborhood, I want it gone from the city, and the state, and the nation.”
On Monday, about 70 protesters showed up, and around 20 of them locked arms and “They blocked them from leaving the facility,” said Jacob Bureros, an organizer with the Direct Action Alliance.
The vehicles trying to leave went back to the ICE garage, and soon afterwards, 2 DHS officers came out to negotiate with protesters.
Officers asked for “reasonable accommodation from the protesters.” Jenny Nickolaus, an organizer with DAA, asked what that meant, and they asked protesters “to allow nine ICE employees stuck inside to be able to ‘to go home to their families.’”
The protesters of course were outraged “at the ridiculous irony in that statement,” said Nickolaus.
Bureros said, “People started yelling, ‘Oh, you need to go home to your families? What about the families you are holding.’”
Police and protesters negotiated sporadically and protesters told police that ICE employees were welcome to “leave on foot,” but they would block vehicles. To which police responded, “If you blockade, there will be arrests,” said Nickolaus.
The blockade continued until at least midnight and 1 person was arrested. ICE vehicles were able to leave out a back entrance which was not blocked by protesters.
On Tuesday, about 10 Portland officers showed up and, along with DHS officers, escorted ICE employees out of the building, according to Corbin, a local activist.
Protesters intend to continue their stay in Portland, as well as expand their fight.
“The plan right now is to build,” says Tashjian. “We want to create a presence and we hope this encourages people in other cities, other states, to do the same at their local ICE facility. To blockade, to eventually surround and shut down. That would be my longest of long-term plans.”
Nickalous said there are about 12 tents set up and around 200 protesters have shown up to surround the building. Supporters have had pizzas and groceries delivered to the protesters, and an ice cream truck even stopped away to dispense free cold treats.
The group is planning another organized protest against ICE for Sunday, June 24 at the same location, 4310 SW Macadam Ave.
“We encourage the city of Portland to stop allowing ICE to be here,” says a protester named General Cherry. “This is supposed to be a sanctuary city, but they’re not following the people’s wishes. Our tax dollars are going to this shit.”