Berks County Residential Center Closes
By letter and by personal witness at the Center Friends at Plymouth along with Monthly Meetings from all parts of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting supported the Shut Down Berks Coalition in their efforts to bring public pressure on ICE, Berks County Commissioners, and the Governor of Pa to close the facility. Efforts have been going on since 2015. The Leesport facility’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expires at the end of January 2023. The facility has been used as a prison for families, including infants and toddlers and more recently during the Biden administration for women. It earned a reputation for their mistreating those people imprisoned there. On January 16th the last of the women have been released from the facility to the care of families around the country. Berks County Residential Center is now officially closed.
We are left with the haunting words of the Mothers who came fleeing violence.
“We came escaping violence, criminal groups, and seeking help and protection.
What we have received from the United States is the deprivation of our freedom.”
Mother incarcerated at Berks with her child for over 425 days
How can we make our immigration and refugee policies reflect the Divine love that our faith calls us to express. We are grateful that the Berks Center is closed. Now we turn our attention to the suffering that continues among the immigrant and refugee people around us.