PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon lawyer argues that a regional jail is violating a sanctuary state law by incarcerating detainees of immigration officials.

A group of northern Oregon residents filed a lawsuit against Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facilities in July that claims the jail is violating a state law which prohibits using public money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people only for being in the country without legal permission, KOPB-FM reported .

The law was passed over 30 years ago.

The lawsuit seeks to end the jail’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The facility simply houses detainees for ICE and does not detect, detain or arrest anyone, said Wilford Carey, the jail’s attorney, in his oral arguments on Wednesday.

“Their whole case is hyped up on an interpretation of the word ‘apprehend,'” he said at the county courthouse in The Dalles. “If apprehend means what it says, they have absolutely no case.”

David Henretty, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, claimed the jail does more than just house detainees.

“This is secure custody where people are always held in secure areas whether they’re inside or outside,” Henretty said. “It’s incarceration.”

Wasco County is also named in the lawsuit.

Steve Walters, another lawyer representing the group, argued that the county assesses, collects and sends tax dollars to the regional jail.

Brad Timmons, the county’s lawyer, denied that the lawsuit has nothing to do with the county government.

Judge John Wolf is expected to rule on the lawsuit before Christmas.


Information from: KOPB-FM, http://news.opb.org