National News

ACLU of Oregon files suit for access to detained undocumented immigrants at Sheridan prison

Posted June 24, 2018 12:44 p.m. EDT

— The ACLU of Oregon announced Friday they filed an emergency lawsuit against several government agencies over access to undocumented immigrants being held at the Federal Prison in Sheridan.

"The fact that we can't do a simple attorney-client visit without all of this theatrics from the agencies is really just troubling," ACLU of Oregon Legal Director Mat dos Santos said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said earlier this week that 123 undocumented immigrants are being detained at the Sheridan facility. The men were moved there in May after being detained.

The lawsuit filed in federal court outlines several instances where lawyers were denied access to clients inside the facility.

"We should be able to literally go up to the prison, present our identification, present our bar cards, identify our clients and go in and meet with them, that's how it works at every other facility," dos Santos said.

Victoria Muirhead with the Innovation Law Lab identified one of the men being held as Luis Javier Sanchez Gonzales. She says he's had limited conversations with his family members, who were also detained.

"They have only had one opportunity to speak with him and were only able to speak with him for three minutes and they are desperate to learn more information," Muirhead said.

She adds that Sanchez Gonzales was separated from his family and has yet to speak with an immigration attorney.

"Our government cannot be doing this, they cannot keep hiding people separating them from their families and denying them access to legal counsel," Muirhead said.

FOX 12 reached out to the Bureau of Prisons for comment on the lawsuit bus has not heard back.

The case is set to be heard in federal court Monday at 8:00 a.m.