Protesters rallied to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials from detaining two men in Bend, Oregon. Immigration attorney Micaela Guthrie is working with the men and says they were detained Wednesday morning, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
A family member says word of the arrests spread after one of the detained men was able to call his wife.
The two were taken to buses that were surrounded by activists for hours. Late Wednesday, it appeared that federal agents had emptied the buses and the crowd was dispersing.
Bend Mayor Sally Russell said on Twitter that the arrests weren’t an immigration sweep and that she had been informed the men have warrants out for their arrest. She’d asked people to leave the area.
I’ve been informed that both men being detained have warrants out for their arrest. This is not a sweep for undocumented immigrants.
Let’s please keep our community safe. Please leave peacefully.
— Sally Russell (@SallyForBend) August 12, 2020
She added, ” 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.
Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz says police had responded to a call from a federal official seeking help with the people blocking their path. Police told protesters they were trespassing. Krantz says officers weren’t assisting immigration authorities.
ICE said in a statement that its actions in Bend were part of its “mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street. The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior.
“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.”
Portland-based nonprofit Innovation Law Lab has asked a federal court to keep ICE from taking the men out of central Oregon, the ACLU said Wednesday night.
Guthrie said the men have lived in central Oregon for over a decade.