An Oregon community was a flashpoint Wednesday in a clash of cultures between federal officials seeking to enforce America’s immigration laws and protesters and local officials who say immigration lawbreakers should come first.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were removing illegal immigrants in Bend, Oregon, when hundreds of protesters emerged to surround two buses that were being used for transport, according to KTVZ-TV.
The protest grew as it was livestreamed on Facebook.
Late Wednesday night, U.S. Border Patrol agents used pepper spray to make way so they could remove the two detainees and some ICE agents from the buses.
Protestors in bend block buses from taking at atleast two men, immigration attorneys confirmed ice raid. Bend police just announced they are criminally trespassing pic.twitter.com/F0KoLH4O20
— Emily Cureton (@emilycureton) August 12, 2020
“The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior,” an ICE spokeswoman told KTVZ.
“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 statement said.
Central Oregon Peacekeepers president Luke Richter insisted that the law could not simply be enforced.
“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.
As the 12-hour drama played out, local officials made clear their distaste and disdain for ICE.
Bend Police Chief Michael Krantz told reporters that his police force was on hand not to help ICE, but to protect the protesters.
He later warned protesters when federal agents were on their way.
Bend Mayor Sally Russell tweeted her criticism of ICE:
To be clear, in no way do I support ICE.
Nor can our Bend Police Force, because Oregon is a sanctuary state and it is illegal.
I am very worried for everyone in our community, and especially our Latinx community.
— Sally Russell (@SallyForBend) August 13, 2020
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel offered words of support for the protesters:
I’ve never been so disgusted by my government and so proud of my community.
— John Hummel (@john_hummel) August 13, 2020
Federal troops strormed the buses in full tactical gear. Unnecessary and outrageous. Never did I think I would see this in my country. #VOTE
— John Hummel (@john_hummel) August 13, 2020
But Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli pushed back on Twitter.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Going on now. pic.twitter.com/R3TyPAsNoI
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) August 13, 2020
Tom Homan, a former acting director of ICE, lambasted Hummel for his comments.
“ICE is helping protect that community but, look, the state of Washington, the state of Oregon has been taken over by the progressive left, and for the police department to stand there and do nothing,” he said on Fox News.
“What really irritates me is the district attorney of that county made a statement that he’s never been so proud of the community and disgusted with the federal government.
“He should resign immediately, because that’s not what he’s supposed to be about. He is supposed to be about law enforcement protecting the community, enforcing the law and prosecuting criminals, that’s exactly what ICE is doing in his county. He ought to be thanking them, not saying he’s disgusted with them.”
“He should resign today,” Homan said.
“It is disgusting. He is in direct conflict of his duties as a district attorney to, number one, protect his community, number two, protect law enforcement and the rule of law.”
During his Fox News interview, Homan was shown a 2018 video clip of Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, saying that ICE has been likened to the KKK.
“Men and women of ICE are American patriots,” Homan responded. “They are enforcing laws that Congress enacted, her, a member of Congress. ICE isn’t making this up. Nine out of 10 people ICE arrests are public safety threats. They either have a pending conviction or pending criminal charges.
“They’re enforcing the law, protecting this country, and to compare them to the KKK is ridiculous,” he said. “That itself is a racist statement made by Kamala Harris.”
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