Hundreds of Portlanders filled the North Park Blocks this morning to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies, then marched to a protest camp at a federal office.
Sons and daughters perched on their fathers' shoulders held hand-made protest signs above the crowd. Mothers pushed babies in strollers while chanting along with the speakers. Many of the protesters held signs with a version of the message "Keep families together."
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D – Ore.) made a brief speech, decrying the lack of transparency in the family reunification process that had been ordered by a federal judge last week. He urged Oregonians to stand against the Trump administration's immigration policies.
"This is Fourth of July week and I'm calling it 'First Amendment Fourth' where we can get out and talk about families and where they belong," Wyden told the crowd over a loud speaker.
"I want you to know that as long as I have the honor to represent you, there is zero chance we are going to stop speaking out against these injustices and zero chance we will stop pushing back against the callous treatment of families in America," he said, "and we will keep pushing back until all families have a safe haven in America."
The protest comes several weeks after U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) live-streamed his attempt to visit a detention center housing immigrant children in Texas.
Heightened scrutiny of the Trump administration's immigration policies revealed that more than 2,000 children had been separated from their parents at the border after the Trump administration adopted a zero-tolerance policy that mandated every person who crosses the border illegally be criminally prosecuted, even if they are seeking asylum with their families.
After journalists and lawmakers toured some of the facilities that hold children separated from their parents, widespread protests broke out across the U.S.
Saturday's rally is one of several such protests in Portland over the last two weeks. A protest camp outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs building on Southwest Macadam Avenue shut down operations at the facility, which has not yet reopened. Federal agents cleared out a portion of that camp Thursday in a dawn raid.
As several hundred families stood in downtown at the Families Belong Together rally, they cheered and chanted together, "Say it loud and say it clear: Immigrants are welcome here."
About 200 people then marched to the protest camp, where armed federal riot police continue to guard the perimeter of the ICE building.