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Immigrant Detainees In Berks County Claim Mistreatment

By Marcy Norton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group representing immigrant families seeking asylum claims they’re being held in inhumane living conditions.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services revoked the Berks County Residential Center’s license because it was only supposed to house children, but has been detaining families which include adults.

The center remains open while the county appeals that decision. John D’Elia of the Villanova Farm Worker Legal Aid clinic says that only the county and state are involved in the legal case:
“We’re petitioning the state to allow the families that are currently and formerly detained there to participate in that appeal. Right now, the two parties are just the state and the county.”

Erika Almiron of immigrant rights group Juntos says the families claim sick children are being denied adequate access to health care. But an attorney representing the Berks County Residential Center says DHS has reviewed similar allegations in the past and that they were found to be meritless.

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement says comprehensive medical care is provided at all times.

Meanwhile, Almiron says the 40 families should be released while they pursue their asylum petitions:

“95% of those families have family here in the United States that they could go to. And then the other two remaining families have people who have volunteered to sponsor them.”

 

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