The Latest: 100s protest separations at South Texas court

Lidia Karine Souza
The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on immigrant parents and children separated at the U.S. border (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

Hundreds of people have gathered for a rally outside a federal courthouse in South Texas to protest the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents.

Thursday’s rally organized by the ACLU and other groups drew busloads of people to the courthouse in Brownsville where judges hear immigration cases involving those who are seeking asylum or have entered the country illegally.

Many are holding placards with slogans like “First we march then we vote” and “Families belong together.”

Actor Jay Ellis, who appears on the HBO show “Insecure,” told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that “we see our own loved ones” in the images of families “dragged through courts and onto buses and into these detention centers.”

The rally comes two days after a federal judge ordered the government to reunite more than 2,000 immigrant children with their families within 30 days, or 14 days for those younger than 5

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11:55 a.m.

Federal officers arrested eight protesters while trying to reopen a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland that has been closed for more than a week because of a round-the-clock demonstration.

The names of those arrested and the charges they face were not immediately available Thursday.

Federal Protective Service spokesman Rob Sperling says officers moved in at dawn and unblocked the entrance to the facility. Employees are likely to return to work next week.

There were no reports of injuries.

The Oregon protesters want to abolish the immigration and customs agency and end the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.

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11:45 a.m.

About 100 people protesting a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at a jail in western Michigan shut down a government meeting and police say seven were arrested for blocking traffic after the meeting.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Karla Barberi raised the issue at Thursday’s Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting. She’s a volunteer organizer with immigrant rights group Movimiento Cosecha GR.

Board Chairman Jim Saalfeld called for deputies to remove Barberi after she refused to sit, but she wasn’t removed.

The meeting was suspended. Police blocked traffic as protesters marched, but those arrested refused to leave the streets.

The contract includes allowing the county jail to charge the federal agency for each day it holds a person with a detainment request.

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11:40 a.m.

A Brazilian woman seeking asylum in the U.S. says she is hopeful a federal judge will order the release of her 9-year-old son from detention in Chicago.

Lidia Karine Souza was separated from her boy, Diogo, at the U.S.-Mexico border in May. Diogo has been held at a government-contracted shelter for four weeks. Souza was released from a Texas detention facility June 9.

A lawyer on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to secure Diogo’s release. Judge Manish Shah said Thursday that he needs to give the case more thought and should rule later in the day.

After the hearing, Souza told reporters she’s confident the lawsuit will succeed, but that the wait is “heartbreaking.”

The lawsuit argues Diogo is not an unaccompanied minor and should be returned to his mother.

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11:10 a.m.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden says he would vote against the nomination of Lynn Johnson as assistant Health and Human Services secretary for family support because of concern over how her past policies as a state child welfare official could bear on her handling of the situation of thousands of children in detention at the border.

The position includes heading the department’s Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Refugee Settlement, which has custody over the children being held near the U.S.-Mexico border who were separated from their parents seeking asylum.

Wyden is a Democrat and said Thursday that Johnson, who headed Colorado’s child welfare program, “green-lighted a law allowing foster kids to be placed in juvenile detention facilities.”

Wyden made the statement at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nominee for new IRS commissioner. Wyden is the senior Democrat on the panel.

The committee had been scheduled to vote on the nominations of Johnson and three other officials, but not enough senators were present.

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11 a.m.

A federal judge in Chicago has declined to rule immediately on the release of a 9-year-old Brazilian boy who was separated from his mother at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Another judge on Tuesday ordered the government to reunite more than 2,000 immigrant children with their families within 30 days, or 14 days for those younger than 5.

The same day, lawyers for Lidia Karine Souza filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to demand the release of her son, Diogo.

Judge Manish Shah said Thursday that he would “like to give it some thought” but he could issue a ruling later in the day.

Diogo has spent four weeks at a shelter in Chicago. Souza has applied for asylum and was released from a facility in Texas June 9.

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10:40 a.m.

Federal officers in Portland have moved to reopen a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office that has been closed for more than a week because of an occupation by activists.

Federal Protective Service spokesman Rob Sperling said in a statement that law enforcement began clearing a camp of demonstrators at dawn Thursday. Media reports say officers took some protesters into custody.

There have been no reports of violence.

The group rallying under the moniker Occupy ICE PDX began its round-the-clock demonstration June 17. Protesters want to abolish the agency and end the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.

Officials closed the office a few days into the occupation because of safety concerns.

On Monday, they warned protesters to stop blocking entrances.

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9:10 a.m.

A group of Democrats in Congress is proposing legislation directed at giving lawmakers more access to government shelters housing immigrant children.

Democrats have pushed for more access to facilities holding immigrants, especially after the Trump administration started to broadly separate families crossing the southern U.S. border.

In some cases, they’ve been turned away from facilities they have tried to visit or denied access to immigrants being held.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon co-sponsored the proposal released Thursday.

The bill would require “immediate access” for any member of Congress to a federal facility unless national security restrictions applied.

Castro and Wyden say they want to ensure that children “already suffering trauma” are being treated humanely.

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8:40 a.m.

Washington state authorities have ordered protesters to dismantle their tent structures outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, where detainees from the southern border crisis are being held.

The Tacoma News Tribune reports that Tacoma police issued the 24-hour notice requiring the protesters to dismantle any structures they erected that are in violation of Tacoma Municipal Code, including tents, canopies, gazebos, sunshades, tarps and temporary restroom facilities.

Since Saturday, people have gathered to protest the federal government for detaining migrants — separating them from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border — while the adults await immigration processing.

On Tuesday, there were 160 protesters, including 10 people were arrested in a confrontation with Tacoma police officers.

A spokesman for the protesters says they won’t move and called the order a scare tactic.

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1 a.m.

Lawyers for a Brazilian immigrant plan to go forward with an emergency hearing in federal court in Chicago to get the woman’s 9-year-old son back.

Lidia Karine Souza has been separated from her son since they illegally crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in late May. The hearing is set for Thursday.

She says she has filled out 40 pages of documents but that officials are setting more requirements, telling her the rules have changed.

She searched for weeks to find Diogo after the two were separated at the border in late May. She was released June 9 from a Texas facility.

Souza’s attorneys on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to demand her son be immediately released.

He has spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago, much of it alone in a room, quarantined with chicken pox.

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See AP’s complete coverage of the debate over the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border: https://apnews.com/tag/Immigration

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