Department of Homeland Security officers paid a visit to an Occupy ICE group who had set up camp in front of an immigration facility in Portland, Oregon this week. The demonstrators had blocked the entrance to the headquarters for more than a week. Officers arrived early Thursday morning and tore down the majority of the camp, but protesters remained in the area, heckling the officers. It didn't get violent, but at least nine were arrested in the confrontation.
DHS's goal, according to officials, was to reopen the immigration facility. After that, they had no interest in dismantling the rest of the protest group's encampment.
When the American flag was raised at the building again, the protesters booed and jeered.
Occupy ICE also caused a scene in New York, disrupting immigration hearings in Manhattan and, again, landing at least one of the squatters behind bars.
Led by anarchist group MACC NYC, the demonstrators have formed what they call a "rolling occupation," with the goal of amassing enough people to fully blockade ICE agents from exiting the building or transferring immigrants to any of the five county jails outside the city. Some activists have taken shifts camping out overnight, including Chelsea Manning, who stayed on Sunday evening.
"We don't want these vans to go where they're trying to go, so the more bodies we have here, the better our chances will be," said Kim Kelly, an organizer with MACC and Occupy ICE. One person was arrested after protesters attempted to block a van on Thursday, according to the NYPD.
The Occupy ICE protests have seemed to gain momentum after Democrats began calling for the agency to be abolished. Cynthia Nixon, running to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York, wants the "terrorist organization" gone. Democrats in New York's 14th congressional district voted for a young progressive who calls for abolishing the agency. In Congress, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) even introduced legislation to make it happen, followed by similar calls from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).