Hundreds gather outside ICE office in Portland to protest immigration policy

Hundreds of people participated in a peaceful protest Thursday afternoon outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Southwest Portland.

"Our action today is to be calling in what we need, which is more humanity. Which is more compassion," said protest organizer and member of the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, Maila Davenport.

"The treatment of children it's, it's just irreprehensible. We're just -- this is not who we are. And so this is a call for ethical, humanitarian effort and to say, 'No, this is not, this is not possible.' We are not going to just stand by and let this happen," said Davenport.

The group marched around the building starting at noon, holding signs protesting the Trump administration's immigration policies.

"Bringing children into the punishment realm is simply unacceptable, even to a great many people who might otherwise, I would think, support Mr. Trump," said protest participant Michael Fonnleitner. "It's just going way beyond any line I think a reasonable person would think OK."

A similar protest is expected at 5 p.m. in McMinnville. The groups are planning for another protest July 12.

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The numbers of children in existing facilities have surged as the Trump administration institutes a policy of trying to prosecute all people who cross the southern U.S. border without legal permission. Hundreds of families have been separated, with parents detained and their children placed in government shelters.

On Wednesday, government officials gave a tightly controlled tour of a shelter in Brownsville, Texas, on the other end of the state. Located inside a former Walmart, the shelter is housing nearly 1,500 children. Many other facilities in the U.S. government network are at or close to capacity.

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, whose district includes the port of entry, said government officials had contacted her about two weeks ago to offer a tour of the port of entry, but included few other details.

"It's kind of in the middle of nowhere," she said. "It's in the desert. There is nowhere to go outside, really."

She added, "I don't understand where they're going to put these kids."

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