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Occupy ICE Protests

Colleen Muñoz

June 28, 2018

In the wake of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policies, communities across the nation are finding a voice.

Peaceful protests begin with a candlelight vigil in Portland, Oregon to express respect and support of the families separated and criminally charged upon reaching the United States-Mexican border.

Stark emotional reactions swept the nation upon hearing the cries of thousands of children separated from their families. Over 2,300 children were confirmed separated, increasing in number daily. Despite insistently placing blame and exclusive responsibility upon Congress to end the separation, on June 20, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order to end his administration’s separation procedures.

Following President Trump’s executive order, uncertainty and questioning flooded.

Children were still separated, lost from their parents. Immigrant parents were still detained and prevented from seeking legal counsel. No procedure was in place for reuniting the parents with their children. Many adult detainees have been transferred to different detention centers across the nation and a procedure for reuniting children will find their parents has yet to be set in place.

As a nation founded on immigrants, Portland, Oregon, among other cities, did not rest easily to the newly-implemented immigration policy. On June 17, protesters began congregating around the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in southwest Portland. Over the course of several days, the number of protesters grew exponentially. Protesters pitched tents outside the facility blocking the entrances and driveways. The idea was: if the judges, immigration officers, and adjudicators were unable to move forward with business, the separations and criminal convictions of immigrations could not proceed.  

The movement known as Occupy ICE PDX had begun. On June 20, the ICE facility involuntarily closed. The crowd of protesters grew and more tents were erected. Cameras on the ICE building were covered and personal information about the officers were posted throughout the city with damaging messages.

On Monday, June 25, law enforcement officers issued notices to vacate the federal property on the grounds that it was preventing access to the buildings and obstructing entrances, parking lots, offices, etc. within the federal facilities. Recognizing the right of demonstrators to voice their opinion on non-federal property, the Federal Protective Services ordered the protesters remove themselves from the federal property.

Despite the notices to vacate, the protesters remained. Early Thursday morning, Federal officers began removing the tents. Nine protesters were confirmed arrested.

The Occupy ICE movement has spread across the country, including cities such as Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, etc. The nation seeks to find the right platform to voice their concerns regarding the current immigration policies of the United States, meanwhile demanding respect for immigrant families.