When federal workers duty-bound to uphold the law were being harassed by violent protesters outside their offices in Portland, Oregon, they did what anyone would do and called the police. According to The Daily Caller, because these pleas for help were from members of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the police ignored them.
After Portland police didn’t respond to two 911 calls from the ICE office, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council — a union that represents ICE employees — wrote a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler demanding the police allow ICE to do their job.
“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,” read the letter.
The letter said policy differences should not translate to targeting ICE officials.
“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,” the union’s lawyer, Sean Riddell, said in the letter.
“Your policy has created a zone of terror and lawlessness,” he wrote.
“We ask that you end your policy of not responding to calls for police services from ICE employees immediately,” the letter said. “We would like to avoid federal litigation, but we are prepared to protect our membership and their families.”
Anti-ICE protesters began surrounding the ICE office in June, and were allowed to stay until July 25 until the site of their protests grew so befouled that Portland officials ordered it cleared.
Mayor Wheeler tweeted his support of the protests.
“I drove by the demonstration yesterday, it seemed to be very peaceful and I was pleased to see that. I want to be very clear I do not want the @PortlandPoliceto be engaged or sucked into a conflict, particularly from a federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track,” he tweeted on June 20.
The policy being enacted by the federal government around the separation of very small children from their parents is an abomination. It is unamerican. I’m glad to see the President seems to be reconsidering this very ill-conceived policy and I hope that happens forthwith (1/4)
— Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) June 20, 2018
“When the mayor gave the order that police would not support ICE employees trapped in the facility, he turned the lives of our employees over to an angry mob,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, according to The Washington Times.
“The mayor stated publicly that he supported the protests, which were supposed to be about protecting immigrant families. But what about the moms and dads that we had working in that building? What about their kids?” he said. “These are questions that we’ll be expecting the mayor and city of Portland to be answering in the days to come.”
Crane said ICE employees will keep fighting for their right to be protected.
“For now, a handful of ICE officers and staff are taking this mayor and city on all by ourselves,” he said. “We’ll fight alone for the rule of law and safety of our employees nationwide if that’s what it takes, but someone on our side would be a welcome change moving forward.”