Pa.’s notorious Berks County immigrant detention middle will shut. Will the 40 girls inside be transferred elsewhere? | Social Justice | Pittsburgh
As advocates statewide have fun the not too long ago introduced closure of an notorious Pennsylvania immigrant detention middle, they’re additionally demanding the discharge of the people presently held inside.
“We have fun this victory however stay steadfast in as soon as once more demanding the speedy launch of girls from this jail; we is not going to settle for the switch of individuals presently detained at Berks to different immigrant prisons,” in response to a press release from the Shut Down Berks Coalition.
On Nov. 30, Berks County officers introduced the tip of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s contract to detain migrants at Berks County Residential Heart.
The Shut Down Berks Coalition, a bunch of civic organizations devoted to closing the Berks County detention middle, has been amplifying allegations of abuse and mistreatment on the detention middle since 2015.
“Since 2015, when the sexual assault of a mom at Berks by a workers member sparked outrage amongst group members, the Shut Down Berks Coalition has been demanding the everlasting closure of the jail,” the coalition writes in a press release. “We have fun this victory however stay steadfast in as soon as once more demanding the speedy launch of girls from this jail. The struggle to shut the Berks Detention Heart just isn’t completed till each lady is free.”
The Berks County detention facility opened in 2001 as one in every of three nationwide services the place ICE detained asylum-seeking households with kids. After the detention middle was emptied of households in 2021, the Berks County Commissioners voted to restructure the detention middle to solely maintain girls in search of asylum, regardless of vocal opposition.
Following the latest announcement that the Berks County detention middle will stop to perform in January, advocates say, 4 to 6 girls have been launched and extra are anticipated.
In a press release to Pittsburgh Metropolis Paper, David O’Neill, ICE’s performing Philadelphia Subject Workplace director of enforcement and elimination operations, says the company “let the Berks facility’s contract expire” as a result of it was now not operationally needed. The ICE assertion says the company expects the instances of about 40 girls in search of asylum who’re presently held in Berks County to be adjudicated earlier than the tip of January when the contract expires.
“If there are instances that haven’t been adjudicated, the detainees might be transferred to different services in a protected and humane method,” the company mentioned.
Based on their web site, ICE additionally detains migrants at three different services in Pennsylvania, the closest of which is Moshannon Valley Processing Heart in Philipsburg, Pa.
Casa San Jose, a corporation serving Pittsburgh’s Latino group, tells Metropolis Paper they have fun the upcoming closure of the detention middle in Berks County and wish to see the discharge of all people presently detained by ICE.
“The detention, for any period of time, of any human being that seeks a greater life for his or her household is inhumane,” emergency response coordinator Laura Perkins tells Metropolis Paper. “We hope that is the primary of many closures of governmental and personal immigration detention facilities and terminations of contracts with all jails and prisons in Pennsylvania. Right now: Berks. Tomorrow: Moshannon Valley. La lucha sigue [the struggle continues].”