Thousands cram Sen. Merkley forum to oppose Trump policies

An estimated 3,500 people upset about President Donald Trump’s health care and immigration policies packed a town hall hosted Saturday held by Sen. Jeff Merkley.

The event was at the former Marshall High School campus in Southeast Portland. Another one in Tigard drew 600 people.

The community meetings, which Merkley holds throughout the state regularly, were the largest he’s ever hosted. Crowds at both events were so large that speaker systems were set up outside to accommodate the overflow audiences.

“The enormity of the turnout speaks to the dire seriousness of Trump’s Muslim ban,” he said in a statement issued after the Portland event. “Oregonians are taking a stand against this reprehensible policy and with our Muslim brothers and sisters and refugees throughout the world. This policy is wrong by every standard and it must end immediately.”

Trump’s order suspended a program that last year resettled roughly 85,000 people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice to the U.S.

He indefinitely blocked all those fleeing Syria, where a civil war has displaced millions of people, and imposed a 90-day ban on entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Late Saturday, a federal judge blocked deportations nationwide of those detained on entry to the country.