More than 100 parents separated from their children by federal immigration officials near the southwest border may be housed in a federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon.
OPB first reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said more than 1,600 immigration detainees had been moved to federal prisons in Oregon, Washington and other states.
"ICE is working to meet the demand for additional immigration detention space, both long and short term," ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett told OPB in a written statement. "To meet the immediate need, ICE has entered into inter-agency agreements with [the Bureau of Prisons] to acquire access to more than 1,600 additional beds at BOP facilities."
The federal correctional institution in Sheridan provided 130 beds to ICE through a contract that allows the agency to place immigration detainees in the prison. ICE is renting more than 1470 beds in federal prisons in other states, including about 1,000 in California.
Immigration advocates say the detainees being housed in the federal prisons had been arrested near the nation's southwest border while seeking asylum in the U.S. They say many had been separated from their children.
An ICE spokeswoman said the move to federal prisons should be temporary, although the agency would need to contract and open new immigration-specific detention facilities to move people out of the prison beds.