Dozens Protest Facility That Immigration Rights Activists Want Closed

By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens took to Center City to protest a Berks County detention center that’s still open today despite the state’s decision to revoke its license last month. Immigration rights activists are pushing for the state to act once again.

The chant, in front of the ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, offices at 16th and Callowhill, “Shut Down Berks.”

 

Which is the Berks County Residential Center just north of Reading.

Yared Portillo with the immigration rights group Juntos says, “This facility detains immigrant families, many of which have been stopped at the border. A lot of these families are also undergoing their asylum process.”

(credit: Tim Jimenez)

(credit: Tim Jimenez)

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services decided to no longer license the center, but an appeal keeps it open past the license expiring on Sunday. And so the protestors want the state to release the dozens of families detained.

Juntos executive director Erika Almiron says they’ve been working to shut down the facility for years, alleging poor medical care and abuse.

“Maybe for some it may not look like a prison, but when you can’t leave it’s a prison, so there’s a song in Spanish, “La Jaula de Oro” which meas a golden cage is still a cage.”

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