Portland ICE facility closes as protests outside continue for fourth consecutive day
PORTLAND, Ore. – Protesters caused the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Portland close for the day Wednesday, and officials say they plan to keep it closed on Thursday.
The protesters said shutting down ICE is one of their goals, so they consider the closure a win.
"As of now we actually have the building shut down so that was our first goal," said protester Jasmine Wood.
The protest at the facility began Sunday after word spread about migrant children being separated from their families at the U.S. and Mexican border.
"We want the zero-tolerance policy to end. We want children to be released from cages," said Antonio Zamora, a demonstrator.
The building was not closed Tuesday, but employees were escorted out of the facility by police officers. At least one protester was placed in custody.
Wednesday, a woman arrived at ICE for an appointment. She said she moved to the U.S. from Guatemala a year ago and was concerned about missing her appointment because of the closure.
“Appointments scheduled at the ICE office on Macadam Avenue have been canceled," ICE officials said in their statement released Wednesday. "ICE deportation officers will touch base with individuals who had scheduled appointments at this location to reschedule. These appointments will not be reported as missed check-ins.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released a statement on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, saying he's supportive of the peaceful protest.
"The policy being enacted by the federal government around the separation of very small children from their parents is an abomination. It is unamerican. I’m glad to see the President seems to be reconsidering this very ill-conceived policy and I hope that happens forthwith. I drove by the demonstration yesterday, it seemed to be very peaceful and I was pleased to see that. I want to be very clear I do not want the @PortlandPolice 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. If they are looking for a bailout from this mayor, they are looking in the wrong place," the mayor wrote.
Meanwhile demonstrator say three or four people each hour kept showing up at the ICE office for deportation hearings scheduled for the shut down building.
"If a person in deportation proceedings doesn't show up to their appointment, they could get automatically deported," said protester Liliana Luna.