Protesters in Oregon block ICE buses holding detained immigrants with warrants out for their arrest

The protestors in Bend, Ore. blocked the federal vehicles for 12 hours before being met with tear gas and pepper spray.

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Updated: August 13, 2020 - 3:26pm

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Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Bend, Ore. on Wednesday night used tear gas and pepper spray to break up a crowd of hundreds of protesters who surrounded their vehicles for 12 hours. The buses were being used to hold two Mexican immigrants with warrants out for their arrests.

Approximately 300 people reportedly gathered in a hotel parking lot where the buses were parked, following an online post by a community activist about the detainment of the two men. 

The agents' actions were part of a mission "to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and to take them off the street," Acting Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. 

"Each had a history of criminal violent behavior," continued the statement. "While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties." 

Eventually, Bend Mayor Sally Russell requested that her constituents leave the scene peacefully. She tweeted, "I've been informed that both men being detained have warrants out for their arrest. This is not a sweep for undocumented immigrants." 

The protest ended around 11 p.m., after federal officers used pepper spray and tear gas to break up the crowd as they moved the individuals from the bus to a second vehicle. 

Erin Carter, an attorney and volunteer with Bend's Innovation Law Lab said that if federal agents did not present the two men with arrest warrants or any type of legal documentation needed to keep them detained, their actions should be considered "a fundamental violation of their legal rights, and an unspeakable breach of community trust." 

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