Multnomah County

6 faith leaders arrested outside ICE

A group of about 80 demanded the release of detained immigrants

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- About 80 clergy leaders and people of faith headed back to the ICE facility Tuesday morning to call for an end to immigrant detention.

It's their third time at the facility on Southwest Macadam Avenue in three weeks.

"It is humbling to be out here breathing in my own privilege and my own freedom with that twinge of grief that there are people who are not receiving human rights," Rev. Chris Craun of St. Michael and All Angels Church said.

They gathered at Elizabeth Caruthers Park before walking together to the ICE building to once again demand the release of the more than 100 aslyum-seeking immigrants detained at Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution and request a meeting with ICE acting regional director, Elizabeth Godfrey.

Despite being refused a meeting, a small group of protesters remained outside the facility. Six of them were eventually arrested by federal officers for civil disobedience, however, they weren't taken into custody.

Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice said a growing group of clergy is prepared to disrupt ICE's operations again if their demands aren't met.

"We are willing to put our bodies on the line in order to dismantle this system and secure the freedom of all of God's people," Melissa Reed, pastor of Leaven Community and Salt & Light Lutheran, said. "Last week's actions were but small disruptions to a racist and classist system of detention and deportation that disrupts and destroys lives by design. Indeed, we remember that it took many disruptions to soften Pharaoh's hardened heart."

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, three Oregon clergy were arrested for obstruction during an ICE protest. Those arrested were identified as Rev. Michael Ellick, Rev. Barbara Nixon and Rabbi Debra Kolodny. They were cited and released.

Their arrests came after a group of 100 people gathered in the South Waterfront and walked toward the ICE facility.

Faith leaders said they'll continue to protest outside ICE until the detained immigrants are released.


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