ICE at Bay: Siege at Portland Continues as Copycat Insurrections Spread Nationwide
Thursday June 28 marks day 12 in the radical left wing and anarchist occupation and blockade of ICE headquarters in Portland, Oregon, organized by a group called Occupy ICE PDX. The direct action to shut down operations of the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement and investigative agency began with a small group of demonstrators on June 17. Within two days, scores of radicals, including families with children, had set up a sprawling tent city on the sidewalks and streets surrounding the building, effectively shutting it down. By week’s end, hundreds of “comrades” had been lured by social media to join the campaign, as it served to inspire similar provocative illegal actions around the country. According to Willamette Week, “The Portland occupation, the first nationwide, is an attempt to disrupt President Donald Trump's ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has treated refugees seeking asylum as criminals and separated small children from their parents.”
National mainstream television and cable news coverage of these developments in Portland has continued to be largely nonexistent. The fact that the movement has gone nationwide has also been ignored. Several Internet political publications, including American Thinker on June 25, have reported on the story, as have a few major newspapers. In contrast, the radical ragtag “Occupy Movement” demonstrations in the fall of 2011 grabbed major media coverage including on TV from the outset of the first one, Occupy Wall Street. It’s plausible that the widespread coverage of obnoxious and potentially criminal actions that have been taken place, and their potential impact to harm Democrat candidates in the fall, have discouraged the MSM from reporting on the equally obnoxious radical encampments in Portland and other cities.
Part of the Occupy Portland ICE tent city Photo: Daniel Stindt, Occupy ICE
The groups behind the Portland and allied anti-ICE actions include Antifa, DSA (Democrat Socialists of America), Direct Action, and various anarchists, socialists, and communist fellow travelers. The official Occupy I.C.E. PDX Twitter account makes the group’s agenda clear: “We won’t leave until I.C.E is out of Portland and is abolished!” and “ICE = GESTAPO.” The radical left wing Democrat mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, is in sync with the occupiers and has ordered Portland police to stand down and not enforce the laws against such actions. Other Portland political leaders are even more dedicated to kowtowing to the occupiers and shutting down ICE in the city. According to a Washington Post article reprinted at SFGate:
City Councilmember Chloe Eudaly said at a meeting Wednesday [June 27] that her office is looking into the possibility of revoking ICE’s lease at the Portland building. Margaux Weeke, a spokeswoman for Eudaly, said the office is looking into options for removing ICE: “We are definitely very supportive of the occupy movement. We're doing our very best to support everything that they're doing.”
Among the “dozens of cities nationwide” where groups of radicals have occupied or blocked ICE buildings are San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Demonstrators to date have had some success in shutting down ICE operations. For example, as Al Jazeera reported in an article on June 27:
On Monday [June 25], #OccupyICENYC forced the agency to temporarily cancel a series of immigration hearings, with officials citing a need to ‘ensure the safety of ICE employees, the court, the public and detainees,’ according to local media.
Source: Occupy ICE NYC Twitter
In recent days, prominent national Democrats have started to echo the Occupy ICE street radicals’ demands to shut down ICE. Support for this ultimatum to in effect nullify the law is quickly becoming an article of faith for Democrat candidates running for office this year and some presidential wannabes with their eyes set on challenging President Trump in 2020. High profile Dems jumping on the abolish ICE bandwagon include 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris (CA), New York Gubernatorial candidate, Sex and the City actress, and lesbian activist Cynthia Nixon, and a number of current Representatives and at least 15 candidates for the House, including the surprise winner of New York’s 14th Congressional District Democrat primary. That new rising star of the left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was a member of the DSA who was working as a bartender seven months ago. According to the Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez “made ‘abolish ICE’ a centerpiece of her campaign, with bilingual ‘Abolish ICE/Elimina Ice’ posters appearing in shop windows across Queens and the Bronx.” On Monday, Representative Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would abolish the agency.
ICE was established in 2003 as part of the Department of Homeland Security that was a result of legislation passed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. ICE’s 2018 budget is $7.6 billion and it employs over 20,000 people. ICE is responsible for much more than enforcing immigration laws. The agency “executes its mission through the enforcement of more than 400 federal statutes, focusing on preventing terrorism, immigration enforcement and combating transnational crime.” ICE also “maintains attachés at major U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.”
The recent clarion call to shut down ICE altogether is part of a larger agenda by this latest incarnation of the seven year-old Occupy movement and its wide variety of radical adherents. More broadly, the movement is also “demanding” the closure of prisons and the opening of borders. In other words, stick a dagger in the heart of law enforcement by freeing convicted criminals from jails and prisons and give up trying to keep illegal aliens out of the country because these policies – law and order and borders – are “racist.”
The Portland ICE HQ occupation has grown in numbers (more than 90 tents and hundreds of participants as of June 25) and has hardened its encampment with barricades made of wooden pallets, heavy tarps, and other material. Overnight last Monday, a small number of Federal officers managed to sneak into the building as the protesters were asleep. They started removing banners the demonstrators had attached to the building’s exterior and the next day began passing out fliers warning the tent city occupiers that they would be subject to arrest. As of late Wednesday June 27, no arrests had been made and no one had been evicted from the sprawling and ever expanding tent city.
A look inside Portland occupy ICE camps Source: Portland Oregonian
The warnings seemed to only harden the resolve of the occupiers. When a few federal officers were spotted in the area on June 27, an occupier tweeted “Homeland [DHS] chuds are here, SEND FUC–NG BODIES NOW
#OccupyICEPDX.” According to Urban Dictionary, CHUD “is the acronym for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. This term is regarded as the WORST possible insult you can dish out on the social media circles today.” According to an article on June 27 in The Oregonian, Occupy ICE Portland leaders have promised that, if arrests are made and the encampment is shut down:
“People are going to do whatever it takes,” Jacob Bureros, an organizer of the Occupy ICE PDX movement, said Tuesday. “If they arrest us on federal property, we'll shut the roads down. You can't stop us. They’re going to find out that this city has more resolve than they do.”
On June 26, Williamette Week described how occupation leaders have already arranged with the city’s legions of public defenders, who normally represent illegal aliens, to vigorously defend anyone arrested at Portland’s ICE HQ.
Local Portland mainstream media – print, online, TV, and radio – are reporting daily on the occupation. The coverage is generally positive, as befits a city that might as well be named The People’s Republic of Portland. Local left wing “community” radio station KBOO-FM has been broadcasting live from the encampment.
The most common question people ask about this situation is a variation of “How long will this be allowed to go on?”
Source: Occupy ICE NYC Twitter
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.