Marchers opposing the housing of immigration detainees in Oregon are pictured at the beginning of a seven-day journey that began Sept. 30 in Sheridan, the site of a federal correctional facility, and will end this Saturday at the regional jail in The Dalles. Both facilities house detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
As of Tuesday, October 2, 2018
A seven-day walk to demand an end to the housing of immigration detainees in Oregon began Sunday in Sheridan and ends at the regional jail in The Dalles Saturday.
Both towns have correctional facilities that hold detainees.
The marchers will also canvass against Measure 105, which seeks to overturn the state’s 30-year-old sanctuary law, which prohibits the use of police or state resources in the enforcement of federal immigration law.
“This law could easily open the door for racial profiling and injustice,” said Martha Verduzco, of the Hood River Latino Network, about Measure 105.
The participants will caravan to various stops through the Willamette Valley and into Portland and then down the gorge. They will be in Hood River on Friday, Oct. 5 for a rally and march through downtown, beginning at 4:45 p.m. at Jackson Park.
In The Dalles, the marchers will walk through downtown The Dalles Saturday, beginning at the Sunshine Mill Winery parking lot at 10:30 a.m. It will end with a rally at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR) in The Dalles at 1:30 p.m.
The march is designed to call attention to the “treatment of people held” in NORCOR, and to call attention to the housing of immigration detainees at the federal facility in Sheridan, according to a press release.
“We believe that every person has the right to live with dignity and move freely in their community without fear of being separated from their loved ones,” said Cara Shufelt of the Rural Organizing Project, the group coordinating the march. “ICE operates in complete opposition to these values.”
The federal prison in Sheridan, 60 miles south of Portland, began holding asylum seekers in June. The ACLU of Oregon told OPB it was very unusual to house asylum seekers in a federal prison, especially if they don’t have pending criminal charges.
In Sheridan “dozens of immigrants and refugees at Sheridan have been released due to the work of lawyers and community pressure,” the release said.
John Boonstra, a minister in Hood River, said in the press release ending the march, in The Dalles, “underscores the urgent need to release people in ICE custody.”
He said the jail was renegotiating its contract with ICE and getting new leadership. “And this presents an opportunity to make clear that ICE is an agency that lacks accountability or transparency and perpetuates abuse.”
The marchers demand the release of all migrants from incarceration and the end of the ICE contracts at Sheridan and The Dalles.