Local advocates are charging that the detention of 130 immigrants at the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., violates the rights of the men because they aren't being allowed adequate access to lawyers.
In a June 15 letter to the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, local advocates submitted a list of demands for changes in the conditions at the facility and made clear they are offering to represent the men seeking asylum in the United States.
"Their detention in a federal prison is unjust, the forcible separation from their children is immoral, and their isolation from counsel and community is unfair," reads a June 15 letter signed by Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, and Stephen Manning, executive director at the Innovation Law Lab.
"The actions taken by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") against these men are as outrageous as they are unconstitutional."
The letter is addressed to ICE director Thomas Homan, and was released to the press on Friday evening.
The federal prison is less than 90 minutes southwest of Portland in Yamhill County. The 130 immigrants held there include fathers separated from their children at the border under a new Trump Administration policy aimed at deterring immigrants from coming to the U.S.
ICE has secured 1,470 beds in federal prisons across the West.
On Friday, the administration released a tally of 1,995 children who were separated from their parents between just April 19 and May 31 under a policy that criminally prosecutes anyone who crosses the border. (Children are not held with parents in prison, but in separate detention centers.)
The White House policy has occasioned widespread outrage both nationwide and in Oregon.
The advocates' demands include: "access to legal counsel, including free, confidential calls to attorneys" as well as to "cease deportations or official interviews until legal visitations occur" and to "cease the inhumane practice of separating families seeking asylum."