Portland, OR – Federal officers in riot gear began removing protesters surrounding Portland’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Thursday morning.
A tent encampment at the site had been growing for over a week, as demonstrators blocked access to the building, preventing immigrants from attending their scheduled appointments and federal employees from getting to work.
The facility has been shut down since June 20, due to “security concerns” the demonstrators caused by blocking sidewalks and doors.
Video footage from a KOIN helicopter showed lines of officers as they blocked people from returning to the area during cleanup.
Behind them, other officers piled up debris from the encampment and loaded the massive garbage mound into a U-Haul truck.
At least one handcuffed individual was led to a transport van in handcuffs, the footage showed.
"We're the ones who shut the building down," Jacob Bureros, an organizer with Direct Action Alliance, a group that helped block the ICE office and cause the shutdown, told The Oregonian. “"It's not their fault they can't get to their appointment."
The protest that was supposed to support immigrants and express dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance policy” for those who cross the U.S. border illegally has actually made things more difficult for immigrants who are trying to follow the law.
Early Monday morning, a team of ICE agents and Federal Protective Service officers arrived and secured the building, KATU reported.
The team began handing out notices to vacate to the dozens of protesters and warned them to “stop interrupting government business,” but officers did not say how they planned to clear the camp as of Monday.
The notices also reminded the demonstrators that they were violating federal law by blocking access to the building, but many of the protesters tore up the fliers or refused to take them.
The protesters’ ultimate goal was to abolish ICE, so they believed the fact that the office temporarily shut down was a good sign.
“This group here is ready to move forward and continue doing what we need to do to make sure we abolish ICE,” Danialle James from the Occupy ICE PDX movement told KATU.
On Thursday, the Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a statement and advised that officers had begun a “law enforcement action” to reopen the Portland ICE building on Southwest Macadam Avenue, KATU reported.