(Update: New ICE statement gives background on detainees)
Immigrant rights groups, others call news conference to decry 'abduction'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Gov. Kate Brown lashed out Thursday at the Trump administration and Border Patrol agents for their actions late Wednesday in Bend, when agents used pepper spray to move in on federal immigration buses surrounded by hundreds of protesters and remove two detainees.
“I am appalled by the callous actions of the Trump Administration yesterday in Bend to target immigrant communities and forcefully disperse a crowd of concerned community members and clergy who for hours held the line against injustice,” Brown wrote in a series of tweets Thursday.
"The actions by federal troops are all too familiar, designed for political headlines, meant to intimidate & strike fear into our communities instead of keeping us safe," the governor said. "To separate Oregon families is unacceptable & heartless. Especially during a pandemic."
“In Oregon, we welcome and include everyone who calls this state home” the governor added. “Those values are codified in our state laws, and they are a part of who we are. We welcome our neighbors, including Oregonian immigrants and refugees. We look out for one another. “
Despite U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement statements that the two men were wanted on warrants and had engaged in past violent behavior, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel struck a similar tone in his tweets late Wednesday night.
“Federal troops stormed the buses in full tactical gear,” he wrote. “Unnecessary and outrageous. Never did I think I would see this in my country. I’ve never been so disgusted by my government and so proud of my community.”
Tanya Roman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, issued a new statement Thursday but said she could not confirm publicly the men's identities or reason for their detention, due to the lawsuit filed late Wednesday against the agency.
“ICE continues to target public safety threats and immigration violators," the statement said. "The two individuals arrested by ICE have criminal records that include convictions for assault, harassment, coercion, and criminal trespassing."
"They are also repeat immigration violators who were previously encountered by U.S. immigration officials and granted voluntary return to their home countries,” the agency added.
Roman also provided information aimed at countering frequent misinformation about ICE's operations: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/misinformation-endangers-community-law-enforcement-officers-and-illegal-aliens
Meanwhile, Central Oregon and statewide immigrants' rights groups, faith leaders and community members were holding a Thursday news conference in the parking lot where the standoff occurred "to discuss the abduction of community members and the federal agents' dangerous response in Bend last night."
The Rural Organizing Project said they would livestream the event on their Facebook page and the ACLU of Oregon on its Twitter feed.
NewsChannel 21 reporters are working to cover various aspects in the aftermath of Wednesday’s protest. Our reports begin at 5 p.m. Our 4 p.m. Fox newscast is pre-empted by Major League Baseball.