PORTLAND, Ore. — Officers from Homeland Security showed up Monday afternoon at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Portland to hand out fliers to protesters indicating they could face arrest if they continue to block the building's entrances.
The protesters responded by walking the officers out of the protest encampment while playing audio recordings of crying children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Wednesday marks the eighth day the Portland ICE office has closed amid protests at the federal facility.
Federal Protective Services first gave individual Occupy ICE PDX protesters notices to vacate the federal property at 4310 SW Macadam Avenue at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
"While demonstrators have a lawful right to assemble and voice their concerns, blocking the building’s driveways or entrances is not permitted under federal law,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Protesters who remain at the ICE facility and block entrances, foyers, lobbies, corridors, offices and parking lots face arrest and prosecution in federal court, Williams said.
A press release issued by Williams' office said protesters have the right to gather on non-federal property near the ICE facility.
In response to the first notice, Occupy ICE PDX protesters encouraged more people to join them.
"The bigger the crowd, the more attention is focused on this issue. If you can come and protest in person, please do," organizers said in a public document.
Earlier Monday, FPS announced that officers entered the building at 3:30 a.m.
"A joint Department of Homeland Security team of law enforcement officers from the Federal Protection Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement entered the federal building at 4310 SW Macadam Ave, to secure government property," federal officials said in a press release.
FPS spokesman Robert Sperling declined to provide further information to KGW.
Protests against the Trump administration's recent policy of family separation and immigrant detention began at the Portland ICE facility on Tuesday, June 19. The facility closed the following day, citing security concerns. It remains closed to workers.
On Sunday, demonstrators protested peacefully at Portland City Hall to voice their opposition to the actions of ICE.
The group's Facebook page said it considers ICE's actions "unjust and find their continued operation to be unacceptable."
“I just feel that this is unconscionable, this is not who we are,” said protester Lauren, who asked only her first name be used.
“These policies are abhorrent, they're contrary to all the values we have as Americans,” said protester John Mulvey. “This is a nation of immigrants and it's disgraceful. I mean, people need to stand up.”
Speakers at the event included Oregon Sen. Michael Dembrow and reps. Diego Hernandez, Sheri Malstrom and Rob Nosse.
“For me it's a moral issue, not just because I come from an immigrant family — I grew up in a mixed status family — but also because if we look at history and what we're doing now to families, and how we're separating, and how we're criminalizing them, it's just morally unjust,” said Rep. Diego Hernandez. “People should just stand up because it's the right thing to do.”
Protesters said what is happening to families is unacceptable. Malstrom said she was a public health nurse for more than 30 years and saw firsthand what happens when children are separated from their parents.
“We know that when children are exposed to trauma, that even if the trauma resolves, all the rest of their lives they suffer adverse physical health, many, many years later,” Malstrom said.
VIDEO: Watch the rally
Many agree it is time to reunite families.
“Our families are being separated, you have no idea the pain they're going through. Their kids are suffering, their kids are hungry, they're going to lose their parents, they're going to lose their language, they're going to lose everything,” said Maria Garcia as she spoke at Sunday’s protest.
After the speeches, the demonstrators returned to the ICE facility in Portland to continue occupying the building.
President Trump said his administration's crackdown on immigration keeps Americans safer.
"We cannot allow these people to invade our country," Trump said.