Last week, the federal government transferred 123 immigrants from detentions near the U.S.- Mexico Border to the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, part of an unprecedented contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons to hold 1,600 immigrants nationwide for ICE. Among the detainees being threatened with deportation are fathers who were forcibly separated from their children by ICE as they arrived fleeing violence in their home countries.
This news comes as the Trump Administration’s inhumane “zero tolerance” policy to detain and separate families seeking asylum is tearing children and their parents apart daily. The damage caused by this policy - children in makeshift shelters, overflowing detention centers, and human rights violations - represent a humanitarian crisis that has now hit Oregonians in our backyard.
Causa stands with the Sheridan detainees and all families who are asserting their right under U.S. and international law to seek protection from persecution. We join elected leaders and partners in the grassroots, legal, and faith-based communities in condemning the inhumane practices of forced separation and detention of parents and children. We demand that the detainees be immediately granted access to legal representation and clergy visits, and that their children be accounted for and reunited with their parents without delay.
When our immigrant communities come under attack, Oregonians respond. A rapid Legal Response Effort is underway led by Innovation Law Lab and the Oregon chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Sheridan neighbors led by Unidos Bridging Community in Yamhill County immediately launched a community response to demand justice for families.
You, too can stand with immigrants and demand justice for separated families. Here are five ways you can support:
- Show up: Join us for a Vigil at Sheridan Prison: Stop Separating Families this Monday, June 18 and follow Unidos Bridging Community for future events.
- Donate: Innovation Law Lab is raising money for coordination of a massive legal response effort to get Know Your Rights information and access to attorneys to all 123 detainees. Unidos Bridging Community is accepting donations toward support for Sheridan detainees such as commissary funds and phone cards
- Volunteer: A variety of volunteers are needed to support the legal response effort including legal and mental health professionals and interpreters for multiple languages. Fill out this survey if you would like to volunteer.
- Sign and Share: Join the petition to #EndFamilySeparation and spread the word via social media.