Far west of Pennsylvania, a lawsuit has been filed against a regional jail. The reason for the lawsuit involves a complicated immigration detention situation. Plaintiffs assert that jail officials are in violation of a 1987 state law.

A spokesperson for the jail, however, says they are merely complying with U.S. immigration law and have done nothing wrong. Those who filed the lawsuit contend that state law prohibits the housing of immigration detainees who are not charged with nor have been convicted of crimes; in essence, their only alleged violations are being in the country, undocumented. The lawsuit further notes that state law prohibits use of local resources to house undocumented detainees in assistance to the federal government.

The jail spokesperson said he finds it quizzical that the situation amounts to the other side telling them to break federal law in order to comply with state law. He also offered his own opinion that the whole situation is politically driven. Oregon law, however, (where the situation is currently unfolding) does explicitly state that regional facilities may not be used to restrain a person’s liberty to assist the federal government in asserting “the authority of legal process” over that person.

The lawsuit asserts that the contract Oregon has secured with the federal government directly violates an existing state law. Immigration detention, as all other topics of immigration, is a highly controversial issue that is highly debatable in many circumstances. In Pennsylvania, an immigration and naturalization law attorney is fully prepared to assist any immigrant facing possible removal or other status-related problems.

Source: The Dallas Chronicle, “Jail sued over holding immigration detainees“, Neita Cecil, July 25, 2017