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Thursday, August 13, 2020
Oregon PROTESTERS Try to Block ICE ARRESTS of 'CRIMINAL' Migrants
Officers used pepper spray to curtail confrontation Demonstrators march Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Bend, Ore., to protest racism and police brutality. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky) ** FILE ** Stephen Dinan
Protesters in Oregon attempted to derail ICE from arresting two illegal immigrants Wednesday, forcing a 12-hour confrontation with federal agents who used pepper spray to keep the demonstrators at bay.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the two targets they picked up both had histories of “criminal violent behavior” that made them valid targets for arrest and deportation.
But hundreds of activists gathered in Bend, Oregon, to try to prevent buses with the two migrants from leaving, demanding that ICE show the public a warrant allowing the arrests. They banged on the bus windows but generally refrained from more serious confrontation, according to local news reports.
Local elected officials rushed to make clear they weren’t helping the feds, and some even showed up on the site to join the protests.
One of those, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, took to Twitter to complain about what he saw.
“Federal troops stormed the buses in full tactical gear,” he wrote. “I’ve never been so disgusted by my government and so proud of my community.”
ICE officers eventually transferred the arrestees from the buses, and the protests dissipated.
“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” ICE said in a statement.
The agency added: “While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”
The confrontation comes even as riots still rage nightly in Portland, where demonstrators first targeted federal officers and have now turned their ire on local police.
Protesters chanted “Let them go!” as they blocked the buses.
Local police said they had been alerted ICE would be conducting some operation but weren’t told the details.
Luke Richter, president of Central Oregon Peacekeepers and the first to step in front of the buses, said they had a right to intervene.
“If they’re going to take people from a sanctuary city, they need to have proper documentation of that. We have not seen any warrants for their arrest,” he told KTVZ.
The station reported that ICE used pepper spray to move people away from the buses and clear the way to remove the migrant targets of the operation.
A legal group filed an emergency request in federal court to demand access to the migrants at the scene, but the court took no action before the end of the standoff.