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City police took to Twitter to tell protesters that Federal Agents are en route to the scene and asked those in attendance to move to sidewalks, or leave the area.
The standoff began on Wednesday afternoon after officers reportedly detained the men.
Anne Aurand, a Bend official, confirmed that ICE officers were in the area but said the city does not enforce federal immigration laws or detain people based on their immigration status, KTVZ-TV in Bend reported.
Bend police said it had been made aware ICE agents were in the city for an investigation but weren’t given details, the department said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“The Bend Police are not involved with ICE operations,” the statement said. “ We do not use funds or personnel or equipment to enforce federal immigration laws or to detain people based on immigration status…We are on scene to allow free speech and a peaceful area to assemble and to provide life safety support.”
Protest organizers asked participants not to vandalize the buses, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. After one person wrote on a bus another person cleaned it off. A speaker told protesters to “take a knee” when federal agents arrive instead of leaving.
Bend Mayor Sally Russell wrote on Twitter she had been told that both detained men had warrants out for their arrest and it wasn’t a “sweep for undocumented immigrants.”
She added that she doesn’t support ICE. “I am very worried for everyone in our community, and especially our Latinx community,” Rusell wrote. “ICE is a Federal agency and frustratingly we have no power over the Executive Branch of our country.”
Newly sworn-in Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said in a news conference that local police were there only to protect protesters and were not assisting ICE. There have not been reports of violence at the protest.
“We want to ensure community members present are safe,” the department said in a statement advising that federal agents were heading to the area to disperse the crowd. “Please move to sidewalks, or leave the area.”
Central Oregon Peacekeepers President Luke Richter told KTVZ earlier they would remain there until they saw the arrest warrants.
“If they’re going to take people from a sanctuary city, they need to have proper documentation of that,” he said. “We have not seen any warrants for their arrest.”
Those who know the detainees said the men have lived there for years, according to KTVZ-TV.
“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street, ICE The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior,” ICE Regional Public Affairs Officer Tanya Roman told Fox News.
“While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”