They claim the Portland mayor refuses to protect ICE officers from trespassers blocking their building.
The union for ICE agents has sent a letter to the Portland mayor threatening to sue him for violating the United States Constitution’s equal protection clause in the Bill of Rights. Apparently, blocking the Portland police from assisting ICE includes ignoring their phone calls when dealing with trespassers. This amounts to a refusal to protect a class of people from criminals.
The Williamette Week reports, “Portland Police Refused to Respond When ICE Agents Called 911 During Protest, Letter Says.”
The union that represents U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers says on at least two occasions last month two federal ICE employees called the Portland police while being harassed by protesters—but cops did not show up, because the Portland mayor had ordered them not to intervene.
Members of the union, called the National ICE Council, sent Mayor Ted Wheeler a cease and desist letter today demanding he require Portland police to assist federal agents if called upon.
The letter, filed this morning by the union on behalf of employees working in Portland’s ICE office, says that Wheeler’s decision to order Portland police not to assist federal agents was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, it cites the 14th Amendment, which says the government cannot deny any person equal protection under the law.
“Your current policy forbidding Portland law enforcement agencies from assisting employees of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency who request law enforcement assistance while at or away from work is a violation of the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause,” the letter says.
ICE is a scorned agency in Portland, especially in the wake of a White House policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S. border. A protest camp blockaded and harried the Portland ICE office for more than a month. The camp was abandoned and swept by police on July 25.
But the letter […] says that if he does not allow Portland police to assist federal immigration agents from here on out, the ICE union will take him to court.
So, basically, ICE has no recourse to local law enforcement in dealing with trespassers on their offices. ICE federal agents had to do it themselves: “A Standoff Between Occupy ICE Protesters and Homeland Security Agents Is the New Normal on Portland’s South Waterfront.”
The demonstrators at what federal officials characterize as a “very, very peaceful” protest camp outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Southwest Macadam Avenue have settled in for the long haul. Federal agents swept protesters away from the ICE building’s front entrance June 28, allowing the building to fully reopen July 3.
Now the two organizations—ICE and Occupy ICE—are uneasy neighbors.
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