Portland Sides with “Occupy” Protesters Against ICE
By Shari Rendall | August 2, 2018
For more than a month, from June 17 to July 25, open-borders protesters camped outside the Portland, Oregon offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), blockading entrances and ultimately transforming the site into a dangerous and filthy mess. Invoking the radical “Occupy Wall Street” movement of a few years ago, the protestors called themselves “Occupy ICE.” Both during and after the protests, the city’s authorities made it disturbingly clear just how much they were siding with the lawless protesters rather than with ICE personnel and other federal employees simply trying to do their jobs.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) tweeted a series of tirades against ICE, with words like “unamerican” and “abomination.” He made very clear he didn’t want the city’s police “engaged or sucked into a conflict” and that ICE shouldn’t be “looking for a bailout” from being surrounded by an encamped and hostile mob. It took him until July 23 to finally tell the protesters to disperse and “move on,” and yet even then he was sure to remind them that he “supports their cause” and to “urge [them] to keep up this effort.”
Where the mayor led, Portland’s police followed. Police Chief Danielle Outlaw claims to have told her officers “to respond to all 911 calls around the Occupy ICE protest.” But she … [also] deemed “life and safety” calls more urgent.” As one observer opined, “[t]he strong implication from Outlaw’s statement: Police decided ICE’s calls weren’t worth taking seriously.” Examples have since surfaced that the police were deliberately ignoring requests for assistance from ICE and other federal personnel. So has an email from Deputy Chief Bob Day to the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the federal agency whose officers guard most federal buildings, in which Day denies FPS’s request for additional resources and says the police would respond “if your officers are assaulted and need us to facilitate a safe exit from the conflict.”
Even once the mayor told the protesters to disperse on July 23, it took the police until July 25 to actually physically clear the camp site. Ironically, the protestors built a wall to try to hold them back. But while FPS had made several arrests over the course of the five-week siege, the Portland police tellingly did not make a single one.
Adding even more insult to injury, while the protestors made their camp site so disgusting that the city has declared it a biohazard, the mayor isn’t seeking to hold them liable for the cleanup costs. Instead, the city’s taxpayers will be picking up most of that tab. The taxpayers of the rest of Multnomah County look like they’ll be picking up the rest, as Sheriff Mike Reese (D) put inmates from the county jail to work on it, with “some … receiving work time credit and financial incentives[.]”
The National ICE Council, the union representing ICE personnel, has since sent a cease-and-desist letter to the mayor regarding the city’s outrageous disregard for the lives and safety of their members. Chris Crane, the council’s president said, “[w]hen the mayor gave the order that police would not support ICE employees trapped in the facility, he turned the lives of our employees over to an angry mob … [t]he mayor stated publicly that he supported the protests, which were supposed to be about protecting immigrant families. But what about the moms and dads that we had working in that building? What about their kids?”
Portland’s response to “Occupy ICE” has starkly demonstrated how just willing, and just how dangerously able, some local governments can be to endanger and penalize federal agents and other law-abiding citizens for the sake of promoting their extreme agenda.