Large group protests Attorney General Sessions' visit to Portland

Demonstrators gathered outside of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services building in Portland to protest Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was in town Tuesday to give a speech urging the city to reconsider its sanctuaty status. (KATU photo taken Sept. 19, 2017 by Tristan Fortsch)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Dozens of protesters gathered outside the US Citizenship and Immigration Services building in Portland ahead of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' speech to law enforcement.

When word started to spread about Sessions’ visit, protesters began organizing their own event, a demonstration when the attorney general arrived at the USCIS building in NW Portland.

"We knew we needed to mobilize," said Juan Rogel, one of the organizers. "We're not going to allow this. We've got to show and prove that we're here and Trump is never going to be allowed in Portland."

A designated "Community Gathering Area" for protesters was created on NW Overton Street between 15th Avenue and 16th Avenue. The protest remained peaceful as the Department of Homeland Security, alongside Portland Police officers, looked on.

The group yelled various pro-immigration and anti-Sessions chants as the attorney general exited an SUV and hurried inside the building.

"We're building a culture of resistance here in Portland," said demonstrator Jamie Patridge.

A federal judge recently ruled the Department of Justice cannot withhold federal grants from sanctuary cities like Portland.

That came after Sessions wanted federal immigration agents to have access to jails and be notified with illegal immigrants were being released.

Some are concerned about what Sessions might do next.

“When Jeff Sessions receded DACA, that impacted a lot of folks and it sent a lot of folks in chaos and that’s currently where folks are at,” said Yanely Rivas from Unite Oregon.

"They've been here since childhood and I mean, it's not their fault they don't have citizenship," said protester Claire Legault.

The Oregon Republican Party said citizens and the state need to enforce current immigration law to make it safe for citizens.

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