BEND, OR -- As the Bend Chamber discussed the impact of national immigration policy on the local economy, dozens of protesters gathered just down the street to speak out against the Trump Administration's recent executive order temporarily banning some immigrants and refugees from entering the U.S.
The demonstration was held outside of Congressman Greg Walden's Bend office. Ross Centers, of Redmond, says he joined in to have his voice heard. "This is really important to me. I think that the President has gone too far; I think he's issuing illegal orders. And, furthermore, I think that him attacking the judiciary on the subject is a troubling sign for our republic and needs to be stopped." He adds, "I'm here to show solidarity with the rest of my Democrats and stand up against the unconstitutional order of our President. We are fed up with the immigration system being politicized and used to attack disadvantaged people."
People also carried signs expressing concern about plans to build a southern border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell was also at the protest. She says, "People are very upset; they're very worried. They're worried about losing their healthcare; they're worried spending all of our money on a wall when cross-border immigration is at a 40-year low. We don't have the money for that."
The group called on Congressman Walden (R-OR) to hold a town hall meeting in Central Oregon where he could talk directly with constituents about key issues. Thousands registered to take part in a recent "telephone town hall." Councilor Campbell was one of only a handful who were allowed to ask questions. The Second District Congressman hasn't held a local town hall since May.