July 12, 2019
An open letter to the Lents community:
(Spanish translation below)
This Sunday, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is set to begin raids across the country to arrest thousands of migrant families. We recognize the negative impact that this action has on all immigrants, legal and undocumented, including our community members here in Lents. The Lents Neighborhood Association (LNA) is asking our community to stand in solidarity with the immigrant and refugee folks who call this area home.
Last month, another neighborhood group, Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA), not affiliated with the LNA, invited and advertised the presence of ICE officials at its monthly neighborhood meeting. We strongly condemn this action. Regardless of intent, inviting ICE to engage and influence neighborhood groups puts all of our communities in danger. It’s especially insulting for this injustice to happen in East Portland, home to the largest population of immigrant and refugee community members and people of color in Portland. In Lents specifically, approximately 17 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, 15 percent as Asian and 5 percent as Black.
During its 15 year legacy, ICE has attracted individuals with racist ideologies who are only interested in tearing families apart and harming our community. The increasingly ruthless immigration policies of the current White House administration and ICE agents have created widespread fear, stress and anxiety within our immigrant community.
To ALL Lents residents, we would like to state, unequivocally, that ICE is not welcome at Lents Neighborhood Association meetings. While our power is limited, we will do everything within it to keep our spaces for discussions safe and we will actively oppose those who wish to make them less safe.
Regardless of your immigration or legal status, whether or not you have a physical address, and no matter how many languages you speak, we recognize you as an invaluable member of our community. We welcome you to our organization and our events, we will work to ensure your safety in our spaces, and will save you a seat at the table where decisions are made.
If you would like to get involved with any of our current projects, please reach out at email@example.com or check out what we do on our website, lentsneighborhoodassociation.com/lna-calendar. If you have any projects of your own and you’d like our support, please let us know.
We admire and depend on your presence, which contributes to a diverse Lents community that values inclusion, understanding, and love.