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Activists Protest Plans To Open ICE Office In Portland

Willis Ryder Arnold
Protesters rally Monday against plans to establish an ICE office in Portland.

The opening of a new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland has sparked ire from some city residents.Activist Hamdia Ahmed helped lead a protest Monday that began in Monument Square downtown.  She says the government agency goes against the city's character.

"We are a welcoming community and we will do everything that we can to protect our undocumented brothers and sisters, and immigrant families as well," Ahmed says.

Ahmed circulated a petition requesting that the building managers end the agency's lease.

"We really just want the landlord to terminate their lease, and we just don't want them here in our Portland community," she said.

A spokesperson for the agency told the Portland Press Herald that the office will not focus on undocumented immigrants, but rather on investigations into transnational crimes, such as human and narcotics trafficking, and child exploitation.

ICE, as the agency is commonly known, will be opening an office on the fourth floor of One City Center. It will have one holding cell.

Protests in Maine and throughout the country have been directed at the agency for its treatment of undocumented immigrants under President Trump's administration.

Originally published 7:08 a.m. Oct. 15, 2019