A Wasco County judge ruled Friday that a lawsuit against a controversial jail can move forward. The ruling follows oral arguments last month.
The Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility, commonly known as NORCOR, tried to get the case dismissed.
The corrections facility is in The Dalles and is one of only two jails in the state to house detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It serves four counties: Hood River, Sherman, Gilliam and Wasco.
Judge John Wolf ruled a group of taxpayers has the legal standing to sue NORCOR, paving the way for a ruling on the merits of the case.
A group of Wasco County taxpayers filed the lawsuit this summer arguing the jail is violating Oregon’s sanctuary state law. The law prohibits using local money or resources to enforce federal immigration law if a person’s only infraction is being in the country unlawfully.
The taxpayers also named Wasco County in their lawsuit, but Wolf severed the county from the lawsuit going forward.
NORCOR officials argue they’re following the law because they’re not engaged in apprehending or detecting immigrants for ICE, as the law expressly prohibits. Jail officials say they only house detainees.