Activists who want a Berks County immigration facility shuttered plan to make their voices with a Mother’s Day rally Sunday.
They plan to bring hundreds of Mother’s Day cards to women detained at the Berks County Residential Center.
About 90 adults and children live at the center run by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.Families seeking asylum in the U.S. have been sent to the facility in Bern Township while they await a decision.
It’s one of three of such facilities in the country.
But some activists — including Adanjesus Marin of the group Make the Road PA — have said it’s more like jail.
“Well, the mothers who have been detained — many for over eight months — really are suffering from psychological trauma from being detained. And we think that it’s important, while we’re fighting on the outside for their freedom, to help lift their spirits on the inside,” says Marin.
The state should issue an emergency release order and force the facility to close, Marin said,
“We want to make sure that ICE knows that we’re not going away, that the county commissioners know that there is a tremendous call within the county for the county to stop participating in the detention of families,” he said. “We continue to call on the state to do an emergency release order.”
The state Department of Human Services pulled the center’s license in February, but it continues to operate while ICE appeals the decision.
ICE, which has said it respects protests that follow the law, said “smart, effective immigration enforcement” is its goal.