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Portland ICE facility closed until 'there are no longer security concerns'

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Southwest Portland will be closed again on Thursday as a protest outside the building continues.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Southwest Portland is closed indefinitely as a protest outside the building continues.

Read latest: Feds give ICE protesters eviction notice

The office on Southwest Macadam Avenue first closed on Wednesday, citing security concerns. ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said appointments scheduled for closed days have been canceled. Deportation officers will contact individuals to reschedule appointments.

“ICE will resume operations at the Macadam Avenue location once there are no longer security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests there," Cutrell said on Thursday.

A group of protesters, calling themselves 'Occupy ICE PDX,' set up camp outside ICE's Portland headquarters starting on Tuesday to protest the Trump administration's recent policy of separating families after illegal border crossings.

More than 2,300 immigrant children have reportedly been separated from their parents since April. On Wednesday, Trump reversed his own policy and signed an executive order to halt family separations at the U.S./Mexico border. It's unclear when the children who have already been separated from their families will be reunited, if at all.

Occupy ICE PDX is now calling for a national occupation of ICE facilities. Protesters said their end goal is to abolish the federal agency.

"It shouldn't be happening, it's unacceptable," protester Dan McLean told KGW.

The protesters have been preventing ICE vehicles from entering or leaving the facility.

On Tuesday, ICE said the Federal Protective Service was called for security reasons. One person blocking a car was taken into custody.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. ICE remains committed to immigration enforcement consistent with federal law and agency policy. The Federal Protective Service was called to the ICE office on Macadam Avenue this afternoon due to security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests at this location. Questions regarding arrests that took place should be directed to the Federal Protective Service," ICE said in a statement.

The wife of a private contractor who works at the ICE facility in Portland told KGW that protesters were not allowing employees to drive off the facility's parking lots. Federal police had to escort about 20 employees off the property. Portland police told employees the agency would not respond to help due ot the nature of the protest, she said. The woman asked to remain anonymous.

The owner of Fifty Licks Ice Cream parked a truck outside the facility and treated demonstrators to free ice cream.

On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he drove by the protests and commended participants on what he said was a peaceful demonstration against an agency "that has not fully lived American values of inclusion."

"I want to be very clear that I do not want the Portland Police to be engaged or sucked into a conflict, particularly from a federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track," he said. "If they are looking for a bailout from this mayor, they are looking in the wrong place."

Elsewhere in Oregon, demonstrators gathered at the Federal Correction Institute in Sheridan, where 123 adult asylum seekers are being held. Lawyers say they were denied access to the asylum seekers.

Sheridan is about 60 miles southwest of Portland.

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