Democrats from Oregon's congressional delegation plan to visit a federal prison in Oregon on Saturday where immigrants from Latin America have been transferred and an attorney seeking to represent them says they have been denied access to lawyers.
About 120 immigrants from Mexico and Central America are reportedly being held at the prison in Sheridan, near Salem.
The administration is sending more than 1,600 immigrants — including some parents whose children were taken from them by U.S. officials — to federal prisons because other jails lack space.
U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer said they intend to visit the Sheridan facility.
Authorities say immigrants there entered the U.S. illegally.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a "zero-tolerance policy" involving people crossing the border illegally. As a result, more children are expected to be separated from their parents.
Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency is working to ensure that detainees have appropriate access to lawyers.
However, the agency hasn't given assurances to attorney Stephen Manning that immigrants in Sheridan will be able to meet with attorneys before they're deported, Manning told The Associated Press Thursday.
The Bureau of Prisons denied an AP request to visit the medium security facility to access the conditions faced by the immigrants.
Cutrell said ICE is committed to connecting family members as quickly as possible after separation so parents know where their children are and have regular communication with them in accordance with ICE policies and detention standards
Earlier this month, Merkley said he tried to enter a federal facility in Brownsville, Texas, where immigrant children are being held, but police were called and he was told to leave.
Merkley was accused of grandstanding by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. The agency said concerns about the safety, security and dignity of the children led to Merkley being kept from the Texas facility.
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