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Immigration law group files suit to block ICE buses from leaving Bend with detainees

KTVZ file

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Innovation Law Lab filed an emergency motion in federal court on Wednesday to prevent the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from transporting members of the Central Oregon community outside of the court’s jurisdiction, after hundreds gathered to protest ICE arrests and block unmarked vehicles from leaving Bend.

Here's the rest of the organization's news release on its action:

Throughout the day, families stood watch as their loved ones were held by ICE contractors in a closed-windowed bus for hours in 80-degree weather.

The families issued a statement read by Janet Llerandi-Gonzalez of Mecca Bend: “Consider the emotional trauma being inflicted not only on us as adults, but also on our children who witness this injustice. We are hard working members of the community that have lost our jobs due to COVID, and our husbands are put at risk daily. We are simply trying to provide for our families, but because of the color of our skin and because of our country of origin that does not justify what has happened here today.” 

Pro bono attorneys with Innovation Law Lab, a Portland-based nonprofit organization dedicated to upholding the rights of immigrants and refugees, were on the ground to provide legal counsel but were denied access to abducted community members. 

“It is a fundamental violation of their legal rights, and an unspeakable breach of community trust,” said Erin Carter, an attorney with Bend Immigration Group and volunteer with Innovation Law Lab. “I spoke with their wives, and their brave children who stepped forward and offered to interpret for their crying mothers. I placed my ear against the metal bus and strained to hear the men inside, while I shouted into the closed windows to inform them of their basic rights. They told me that ICE had attempted to coerce them into signing forms. Without a lawyer present.”

The group of protesters that grew throughout the day and into the evening included community members, faith leaders, and civil rights advocates who gathered outside the SpringHill Suites Hotel where the community members were kept inside unmarked vans. 

“We won’t let our community members be taken from us. We will not abide the separation of families,” said Rev. Erika Spaet of Storydwelling and the statewide Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. “Our faith, our conscience, our love of neighbor is seeing its full strength here today in Bend.”

Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell parked her personal vehicle in front of DHS’ unmarked vans, preventing them from exiting the hotel’s parking lot. She addressed reporters saying, “I am here because people are being picked off the streets and detained for the crime of wanting to work hard. These are good people who have immigrated to our country. We are right now trying to empty our jails and our prisons because they could be hot spots for COVID-19. The idea of my taxpayer money going towards harassing these individuals is intolerable.”

ICE has drawn public scrutiny in recent months due to its mishandling of the COVID pandemic and a refusal to follow CDC guidelines around masks and sanitation. COVID-19 poses a serious threat to immigrants held in crowded and unsanitary detention facilities.

“We will not stand by as the Trump administration pushes anti-immigrant, abusive policies in Oregon,” said Denise Piza, Oregon Ready coalition manager with Causa and former Madras City Councilor. “We applaud the people of Bend for standing up for their neighbors and protesting DHS’ retaliatory practices. An overwhelming majority of Oregonians voted to protect our sanctuary law in 2018, and today, they stood their ground to support their fellow community members in central Oregon. Ripping apart families has a deep, detrimental, and lasting impact on our communities. ICE’s cruel actions are contrary to Oregon’s welcoming spirit and commitment to equal rights under the law.” 

KTVZ news sources



  1. This makes me proud of bend, it was only a century ago the deschutes county sheriff was burning crosses on pilot butte with the kkk, and only weeks ago that the city police had racist symbols displayed on their cruisers

    Thankfully both issues seem to be in our rear view mirror now, we are making america great every day and following jesus’ golden rule to put each other ahead of our selfishness! Thank you to everyone working hard to keep the peace at springhill suites today

    1. only in your ‘progressive’ mind are there racist symbols on BPD rigs. BTW- you still have yet to back up your claim that the Blue Lives Matter flags prompted hostile work enviorment complaints

  2. So they shouldn’t have a problem if hundreds of people “protested” in front of this bleeding heart law office, right? The portland protesters got to try and burn the Hatfield Building, PPA Union Hall… after barricading the police INSIDE…. aaaaaaand they drop the charges. So we can “protest peacefully” as well, right?

  3. Good job Bend, it can be disheartening when you read the comments here by all the racists and bigots. Great to see they are still only a obnoxious, vocal minority in our fine city!

  4. If it was up to me, EVERYONE there blocking ICE would be in cuffs!
    If you’re not a LEGAL citizen of this country, by all means get the hell out…

  5. If these people are here illegally.Or if they have warrants then what the hell are people trying to stop ICE from doing there job. Then Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell Illegally blocked the transport vehicles from leaving she should be voted out of office. I know this comment is going to get a lot of hateful comments but I really don’t care.

    1. I agree with you. I am also concerned that the person “spontaneously live feeding the event” just “happened” upon this. I think it was all planned and staged and we are the next Portland rioting and burned out mess.

  6. Lawbreakers all, including the grandstanding city councilwoman Barb Campbell with her illegal blocking of the DHS vans with her car. Everyone needs to move off of the private property, quit blocking the vans, go home, and for so many— get a real job on Thursday!

  7. The mess in Portland is coming to Bend…it was only a matter of time. Riots and fires will follow, Interesting how we hat a Portland police chief AND this spontaneous (maybe planned and staged) event in just a few days after he arrived.

  8. Yeah, look at the lies the media throws at us. Just because somebody is “hard working” and “trying to provide” it does not make it ok to be here illegally and disregard our country’s immigration laws. It is NOT racist to enforce immigration laws as some posters claim, all races should be removed unless they have legal status. And if ICE took them into custody they most likely had a criminal record and had removal order in place by an immigration judge.
    Arrest and jail all who interfere with federal law enforcement. Liberals, you cannot pick and chose which laws to enforce and which once to not. Go and change the law if you don’t like it but all must follow it until it is in place. There are many laws I don’t like but I still get arrested and jailed if I break them.

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