Student protests aimed at sheriff


The Lane County Sheriff”s Department has been accused of using their resources to assist the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in various ways. Many Eugene citizens and students came forward to protest these actions on Friday, Feb. 8.

Prior to the protest, the sheriff’s department had been accused of using resources to aid in ICE arrests regarding federal immigration law. They also had allegedly given ICE access to the back entrance of the county jail to give them quick and easy access to make arrests.

A member of the University of Oregon’s chapter of MEChA announces the group’s grievances with Sheriff Byron Trapp’s alleged cooperation with ICE officers. (Lucien Guidotti-Lawrence // The Torch)

In 2017, Eugene’s City Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance offering certain protections to all Eugene residents, including immigrants.

According to the official ordinance draft, it “prevents the city and police from enforcing federal immigration law.” While Eugene is not technically a sanctuary city, these laws make the city act as such.

With Eugene’s ordinance laws, many people throughout the city found the Sheriff Byron Trapp’s actions unlawful and against voter expectations. A formal letter was written by various people, including Council Oregon, to Trapp, asking that he “immediately cease these practices, and confirm when you do so.”

With Trapp not addressing the letter, the University of Oregon student group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán staged a protest for Friday Feb. 8. The students hoped this protest would encourage community involvement and entice Trapp into responding.

“Nearly four months after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite families separated at the border, 245 children remain in government custody,”

American Civil Liberties Union

Friday’s protest brought many tears as various community members shared their stories.

“The depression I had to go through as a kid in order to adapt was incredible,” University of Oregon student Montse Mendez said. “Children who are having to be separated from their families and who have to go through that alone and in detention centers, I think about that every single day.”

Montse Mendez, a UO student, speaks in open forum in front of the Lane County Sheriff’s Department about how immigration enforcement has affected her and others. “It’s ridiculous when I’m trying to get an education while those children are losing their identity and experiencing psychological trauma with reparations we will never be able to fix.” (Lucien Guidotti-Lawrence // The Torch)

According to an analysis of government data by the American Civil Liberties Union, “Nearly four months after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite families separated at the border, 245 children remain in government custody,”

Trapp eventually responded in an interview with KEZI saying, “The access that ICE has to the Lane County Jail isn’t unique, it’s the same as all law enforcement,” he said. “We don’t ask our employees, nor will we ever ask our employees, to do anything that would violate any of the laws.”

“It is up to the sheriff to end this,” Council Oregon member Joel Iboa said.

The protestors plan on making sure the sheriff’s department change their policies or they may take legal action.