FCI Sheridan Update, What’s Next, How to Get Involved

by Stephen Manning — Posted in Massive Collaborative Resistance Sheridan on June 17, 2018

Thank you for your interest and willingness to defend democracy, end family separation & support the pro bono legal effort at FCI Sheridan.

What happened?

As you know, the Trump Administration has launched an assault on immigrants, particularly immigrants from communities of color. The immigration authorities are physically tearing children from parents, prosecuting asylum-seekers, and incarcerating mothers, fathers, and children–separately.  Here at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon, the Trump Administration has incarcerated more than one hundred men who are seeking asylum

Nearly 300 people have volunteered to defend the law of asylum by supporting the legal defense work at FCI Sheridan. Thanks to your support, in just a few days:

 

  • We’ve opened a base camp (otherwise known as a very modest law office) in a donated space in the lovely rural town of Sheridan just minutes from FCI. The base camp will serve as hub of support & training for pro bono lawyers & advocates.
  • We have created a data system, legal templates, and are arranging for interpretation services. We are collecting asylum country reports.
  • We’ve established a toll-free hotline for the detained men and their families.
  • We’ve established an email for lawyers, advocates, and press to contact the on-the-ground team (otg-sheridan@innovationlawlab.org).
  • We’ve connected with our colleagues around the country to help piece families back together and collectively defend the law of asylum.
  • We’ve established a web page for up-to-date reports.
  • We’ve created a volunteer registration form.
  • We are working collaboratively with our colleagues at the Innovation Law Lab, Oregon Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Oregon Ready, and members across the state including faith communities and others.

What’s the strategy?

  • The ability of the detained men to access counsel is still very compromised (you can read our demand letters here and here).
  • We are working on creating better, more meaningful access that complies with the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States so that every individual experiences a fair process that is free from bias.

What happens next?

  • If you registered to be a volunteer, you will receive a few more emails about organizational things. If you haven’t registered, please do. There is a lot of work to be done.
  • We will soon have a scheduling system in place to train and deploy volunteers. We are working non-stop to get ready. To defend democracy and the rule of law means all-hands-on-deck and we are really glad you are on the team!
  • On Monday, June 18 at 5.30pm, you should be in Sheridan for a vigil planned by local advocacy and faith-based organizations. Details can be found here.

Be well & more soon,

The Sheridan Pro Bono Project

Chanpone Sinlapasai, Eileen Sterlock, Stephen Manning, Caroline van der Harten, Luis Garcia