SAN FRANCISCO, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Several pro-rights groups in the U.S. west state of Oregon are urging U.S. immigration authorities to protect the civil rights of more than 120 asylum seekers currently detained in a federal prison in the state.
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon), Innovation Law Lab, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association Oregon Chapter (AILA Oregon) said 123 asylum seekers are "being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the federal prison in Oregon without meaningful access to attorneys in violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal immigration laws."
ACLU of Oregon said in a statement posted on its website that the Oregon detainees, all men, are among the 1,600 immigrants marked for expedited deportation that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration sent to federal prisons in five states in an unprecedented move last week.
"There should be no deportations until all one hundred and twenty three men have meaningful access to lawyers," said Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon.
The rights advocacy group complained that the detainees in the Oregon prison were denied access to lawyers through this weekend.
Some of the detainees were reported to be forcibly separated from their partners and children, and lack information about their family members' whereabouts, it said.
The ACLU of Oregon called on the public to attend a vigil to be staged outside the federal prison in Sheridan, a city in northwest Oregon next Monday.
The Trump administration has been criticized over past few days for cracking down on illegal immigration with a "zero-tolerance" policy of separating families at the U.S. border.
Media reports say nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families during a six-week period in April and May.