Along the trolley tracks behind the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office, a biohazard cleanup crew works under police protection. It finds used needles and buckets of human waste simmering in nearly 100-degree heat. The smell of urine and feces fills the block. For more than five weeks, as many as 200 people had occupied the site to demand ICE's immediate abolition. They're gone now, but a community is left reeling. Thirty-eight days of government-sanctioned anarchy will do that.
A mob surrounded ICE's office in Southwest Portland June 19. They barricaded the exits and blocked the driveway. They sent "guards" to patrol the doors, trapping workers inside. At night they laid on the street, stopping traffic at a critical junction near a hospital. Police stayed away. "At this time I am denying your request for additional resources," the Portland Police Bureau's deputy chief, Robert Day, wrote to federal officers pleading for help. Hours later, the remaining ICE workers were finally evacuated by a small federal police team. The facility shut down for more than a week.
Signs called ICE employees "Nazis" and "white supremacists." Others accused them of running a "concentration camp," and demanded open borders and prosecution of ICE agents. Along a wall, vandals wrote the names of ICE staff, encouraging others to publish their private information online.
Federal workers were defenseless. An ICE officer, who asked that his name not be published, told me one of his colleagues was trailed in a car and confronted when he went to pick up his daughter from summer camp. Later people showed up at his house. Another had his name and photo plastered on flyers outside his home accusing him of being part of the "Gestapo."
Where were the police?