Protesters to Rally at Missoula Jail, Ask County to Cancel Federal Detainee Contracts
Wednesday, June 20, a group of protesters plan on rallying outside of the Missoula County Detention Center. Some of the of the groups organizing the protest include Montanans for Immigrant Justice, the YWCA, The Jeanette Rankin Peace Center and Soft Landing Missoula. Missoula Rises is also working to organize the protest and Founder and Director Erin Erickson explains what the protest is all about.
"We are meeting at the Missoula County Detention Facility to protest the Trump administration's Zero Tolerance Policy of separating families at the border," Erickson said. "We are also addressing the issue of ICE and their racial profiling in Montana, which has led to the detainment of folks that are being held in the Missoula County Detention Facility."
It is difficult to find information about how many ICE detainees are in Missoula County, but there are estimates that the number is between five and seven. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Brenda Basset says they are listed on the jail roster as a “federal hold.” Erickson says the protesters are asking County officials to reconsider local policy at the detention center.
"We are holding it there so the people inside understand that there are people on the outside that know they are there and that they have a voice," Erickson said. "There are several detainees. Our county has entered into contracts with the federal government to house those detainees there. That is one ask that we have of our county commissioners and the county, is that they consider cancelling those federal contracts."
Posters for the protest read “No human is Illegal. No child is expendable.” The protest is scheduled to begin around 5:00 p.m. Erickson says both Governor Steve Bullock and Senator Jon Tester have sent statements that will be read at the protest.