Hundreds show up for vigil outside federal prison to rally against ICE policies

KATU News photo

Hundreds of people gathered outside a federal prison in Sheridan Monday afternoon, rallying for the rights of the 123 undocumented immigrants being held inside.

They're also rallying against the policies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which have led to hundreds of children being separated fro their parents at the border.

Ten Mexican nationals are among 123 undocumented immigrants detained by ICE agents at the medium-security prison in Sheridan.

Some of the 10 Mexican nationals have been separated from their families after leaving a federal facility in San Diego. A consulate official says one parent had her 15-day-old child taken from her.

Lawyers visited the federal detention center last week and are working to ensure that those detained can talk to their families and get the medical care they need; however, ICE hasn't given assurances that the immigrants will be able to meet with attorneys before they're deported.

The ACLU says they have been given three hours a day to meet with all of the men. They say that's not nearly enough time to determine who has a good case for seeking asylum.

"We need to be able to get people around a table or figure out the access mechanisms to figure out what works so that these individuals who are claiming fear are able to have a process that's free from bias and that's adequate under the Constitution," Stephen Manning, a lawyer with the Innovation Law Lab, said.

Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer, as well as Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, visited the facility last weekend and met with several of the immigrants inside.

RELATED: OR Democrats: Immigrants detained in Sheridan treated like prisoners, no access to lawyers

Sen. Merkley says the detainees are only being allowed out of their cells one-two hours per day, and Rep. Bonamici says several wounded individuals have still not received medical treatment.

"We spoke with a man who had been shot in his home country. He showed us where the bullets had hit him. He has not been able to get medical care here [at the facility]," said Rep. Bonamici.

Rep. Blumenauer choked up while speaking about children being separated from their parents.

"The notion that we're going to criminalize being persecuted, and enforce it by yanking children from their parent's arms...Nobody should treat children like that," said Blumenauer.

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