A union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Portland's mayor after police allegedly refused to respond to emergency calls from agents "trapped inside" their offices amid anti-ICE demonstrations.
Weeks-long protests staged outside ICE headquarters in Portland, Oregon were disruptive enough to shut down the offices on June 20, The Daily Caller reports. Among the protesters, TheDC notes, were members of the violence-embracing Antifa. After two weeks, ICE employees were finally able to return to their jobs.
Now the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council is calling on Mayor Ted Wheeler to end what agents describe as the city's both illegal and dangerous policy of forbidding law enforcement from aiding ICE agents, a policy they say resulted in ICE agents being put at risk amid escalating protests.
"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," reads the letter, sent by lawyer Sean J. Riddell. "As you are aware, the 14th Amendment forbids the government from denying any person or persons equal protection of the laws."
Riddell continues: "Your policy of not providing police services to employees of ICE creates a class of people based upon their source of income. You have failed to articulate why these people deserve to be the target of your ire and, you have failed to articulate the legitimate government interest protected or supported by your targeting of hardworking citizens."
The letter underscores that the mayor's apparent disregard for the protection of ICE members is partly motivated by his animosity for the Trump administration. "We understand that you have a difference of opinion with the current President of the United States, and some of his policies, but we fail to see why targeting the employees of ICE and leaving them vulnerable to violence, harassment and even death furthers a legitimate government interest," writes Riddell. "Your policy has created a zone of terror and lawlessness."
The cease-and-desist letter ends by calling on Mayor Wheeler to end the dangerous and illegal policy and requesting a meeting to discuss the urgent issue in person:
We ask that you end your policy of not responding to calls for police services from ICE employees immediately. Our membership has been the subjected to threats of physical violence and harassment since you announced your policy.
We are requesting a meeting with you to discuss how you can provide law enforcement services to ICE employees. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule a meeting between yourself and my clients. We would like to avoid federal litigation, but we are prepared to protect our membership and their families.
The union's references to threats and harassment have been backed up by media reports from the protest area. Here's how The Daily Caller described the scene outside of the ICE building two weeks ago:
Occupy ICE protesters in Portland, Oregon, rolled out a makeshift guillotine and beheaded a piñata of President Donald Trump Tuesday.
Several people yelled, “Off with his head!” while the Trump piñata was placed under the knife by some protesters wearing scarves on their necks and covering their mouths. A sign in front of the guillotine read, “Brick by brick, wall by wall, we will make the borders fall.”
As the piñata was sliced, candy fell out and people screamed with joy. One protester threw the president’s head toward the crowd, according to video footage posted by Abolish I.C.E PDX.