June 26 (UPI) — Federal authorities moved Monday to shut down the organized occupation of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Oregon by protesters who oppose Trump administration policies.
Federal agents gave out eviction notices to protesters who’ve blocked the ICE facility in Portland for a week, as part of its #OccupyICEPDX crusade.
The Portland ICE office was initially dismissive of the attempt and said it wouldn’t close. The movement eventually grew too large to allow it to continue operating.
“It is unlawful under federal law to obstruct the entrances, foyers, lobbies, corridors, offices and/or parking lots of federal facilities,” the notice said Monday, adding those who obstruct the entrance of the building can be arrested.
Authorities said, though, they have no authority over adjacent properties that can be used for the protest.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working with the Federal Protective Service and ICE to reopen the federal building … that serves many critical functions requiring public and employee access,” U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said. “We acknowledge the community’s concerns driving these demonstrations.”
The move follows a refusal by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to order the arrests of the protesters.
The activists are calling for the elimination of the entire U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency as a direct result of President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy against unlawful migration to the United States.
In a Facebook post, the protesters said they anticipated ICE would use “invasive and opaque” techniques to end the demonstration.
“ICE can try us here in Portland, but we are unrelenting,” the post said. “Rooted as a tree, solid as a rock, united as a people. We are organized, we are ready, we here to stay until ICE is abolished!”
The occupation began June 19 and the ICE office closed a day later, citing security concerns, as protesters blocked employees from leaving parking lots.
Similar ICE protests have arisen elsewhere nationwide, in New York City, Los Angeles and Detroit.