Oregon leaders are pushing back against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
The president's order freezes immigration from seven mostly Muslim nations and bars admittance of all refugees into the United States. The White House had said the order also applies to green card–holders and visa-holders from those seven countries who are not currently in the U.S.; however, on Sunday it reversed its course on green card–holders, the Associated Press reported.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement Saturday she’s appalled by the immigration order, which bars immigrants from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan.
"Discrimination based on national origin is illegal," Rosenblum said in her statement. “Here in Oregon, we welcome and honor our immigrants, who add so much to the quality of our lives. This order shuts out Oregonians’ families, instills a culture of fear and demeans many of our most hard-working and talented neighbors and friends.”
Rosenblum joined 15 other state attorneys general in condemning Trump’s executive order. In a statement, the attorneys general said they are confident the order will ultimately be struck down by the courts.
A federal judge in New York had blocked the order in part on Saturday night, NPR reported.
In Portland, reports surfaced of increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity around the Multnomah County courthouse.
“In the past two weeks, there has been an increase in reports of ICE activity around — and in some cases inside — the courthouse. We do not yet know if there has been an actual increase,” said a statement from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
In these instances, attorneys say their clients will be scheduled to appear in court on a charges unrelated to their immigration status and are detained by ICE officers. They are typically transported to the federal detention center in Tacoma, Washington, and scheduled for a deportation hearing.
Multnomah County's statement said such activity can cause fear among those seeking to access court services:
This is devastating for the people accessing our services, and in many cases, counterproductive to a lawful community. We encourage ICE to recognize courthouses as sensitive locations and consider these impacts.”
A standing-room-only crowd gathered in Southeast Portland for a town hall meeting with Sen. Jeff Merkley, thus far a vocal critic of the Trump administration's policies. The meeting drew hundreds at least with some even standing outside around the windows of the building.
"This administration seems bent on attacking as many kinds of citizens as possible," said Karen Wells, who attended the town hall. "It’s not just people of color under attack, but it’s European-Americans under attack, it’s immigrants under attack, it’s people coming into the country under attack. We really need to have a concentrated effort to continue to push forward."
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer says families are being torn apart because of what he calls a "cruel and unjustified" immigration order. He says he’s monitoring the situation in Portland.
My office is reaching out to legal orgs & monitoring the situation in PDX. I will do everything I can to fight against this cruel action.— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) January 28, 2017
Portland State University released a statement Saturday saying it identified 76 students from the countries covered by Trump's order. PSU President Wim Wiewel said the university is "working with our students from these five nations to help them navigate this executive order." Portland State announced itself as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants in November, shortly after Trump's election.
Refugee resettlement charities in Oregon days ago expressed nervousness about the possibility of a refugee ban in the U.S.
In the past five years, more than 5,000 refugees have arrived in Oregon. Of those, 1,110 are from Iraq; 976 from Somalia; 172 from Iran; 130 from Syria; and 26 from Sudan, according to the U.S. Department of State.
Earlier in the week, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement the state will work to protect undocumented Oregonians. Brown argued state agencies are prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to “treat undocumented Oregonians as criminals.”
This came after the Trump administration signed another executive order to strip sanctuary cities like Portland of federal funding for refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
A small group of protesters gathered at Portland International Airport to oppose the president's order. The demonstration later grew to include several dozen people.
OPB's Rob Manning and Conrad Wilson contributed reporting.
Updated Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. PST to incorporate a statement from Portland State University.
Updated Jan. 28 at 9:07 p.m. PST to include new information on PDX protests.
Updated Jan. 29 at 1:35 p.m. PST to include joint statement from attorneys general.
Updated Jan. 29 at 2:30 p.m. PST to include new information about green card-holders and the order being blocked by a federal judge.