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Anti-ICE march ends in The Dalles

Activists end a march from Sheridan to The Dalles in protest of ICE.

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Activists end a march from Sheridan to The Dalles in protest of ICE.

A seven-day march/caravan seeking to end housing of immigration detainees in Oregon concluded Saturday with about 175 people marching through downtown The Dalles to the regional jail.

A local group, Gorge ICE Resistance, has picketed the jail daily for over 520 consecutive days in an effort to get the jail to drop its contract to house immigration detainees.

The group was one of several that joined with the Rural Organizing Project to sponsor the march, which began Sept. 30 at a federal prison in Sheridan, about 60 miles south of Portland. That facility began housing asylum seekers last summer.

Marchers seek to end federal immigration detention contracts in Oregon and also oppose Measure 105, which would end Oregon’s 30-year-old sanctuary law that bars the use of police and state resources to enforce federal immigration law.

Solea Kabakov, a leader with Gorge ICE Resistance, said, “We march for the freedom of our brothers and sisters seeking asylum imprisoned by ICE at the Sheridan federal prison and for those held at the NORCOR jail.”

The four-county Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees. It has done so almost since it opened its doors nearly 20 years ago.

The march in The Dalles began at the Sunshine Mill parking lot and ended at the jail, near West Second and Webber streets.

Of Measure 105, which will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, “We say no to racial profiling and no to using our tax dollars and local resources to enforce federal laws.”

Kabakov said, “We demand NORCOR terminate its contract with ICE just like the city of Springfield and Josephine County both did in June 2018, proving it can be done.”

Josephine County cited lawsuits against NORCOR related to its housing of detainees as one of its reasons for ending its own contract with ICE.

The regional jail is in the midst of one lawsuit, and last May settled another brought by a Hood River man who was told by a judge to go to the jail to be fingerprinted and released. However, the jail held him for 20 hours until ICE picked him up on a detainer.

NORCOR and Sheridan are the only two facilities in the state that now house immigration detainees.

Kabakov said the event left her “inspired and energized to keep up the fight for immigrants rights and social justice.”

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Sheridan to NORCOR March organizers stated: “We call upon the Trump administration and Congress to end the brutal attack on immigrants and refugees and to repeal all laws that criminalize migration, put people in cages, and separate families every day.”


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