A group of about 50 demonstrators gathered outside Portland City Hall Monday and called on the city to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. They linked hands and chanted “the people united will never be divided.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has already said he plans to make Portland a so-called sanctuary city that protects immigrants. President-elect Donald Trump has said such cities could lose federal funding.
The protesters called for Wheeler and the City Council to pass a resolution directing the police not to cooperate with federal immigration and customs enforcement. They said they plan to push the issue in other Oregon cities like Beaverton and Salem.
Alexis Cannard, a senior at Roosevelt High School, urged her fellow students to make sure their voices are heard.
“Many of us were unable to vote in this election. Yet, we are the ones who will be feeling the after effects for the year to come,” she said.
Cannard and other students said they are worried that a Trump administration will stoke racism and withdraw from efforts to combat climate change.
“We need to organize, and organizing is about bringing people in, especially people who aren’t easy to bring in to your cause,” she said.
Portland Police officers on motorcycles helped to block traffic so the students could safely march through the streets. They crossed the Burnside Bridge, chanting “We reject the president elect.”
Simpson said Stevens was arrested when she tried to stop McKelvey’s arrest.
All three were booked into Multnomah County Jail on a charge of second-degree disorderly conduct. Rhodes and Stevens were also charged with interfering with a police officer.
Law enforcement temporarily dropped the charges against the activists at a court hearing Tuesday.
“I will plead not guilty and fight every single charge, even if reduced to a violation, in the courts,” Gregory McKelvey said in a press release. McKelvey maintains he was personally singled out for arrest by Mayor Charlie Hales.
But the mayor cancelled the march after Portland’s Resistance said it intended to hold a rally at the same time and place.
Hales has advocated for refugees and immigrants in the past. He supported a local labor activist and undocumented migrant who, facing deportation, took refuge in a church and denounced then candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion of a total ban on Muslims entering the United States.
But Hales has also questioned the efficacy of the protests that took place following the election, and some of his critics denounced the march as “hypocrisy.”