June 16, 2015 at 10:43 pm #1439Peter FrankMember
We have a problem, a situation in Berks, for Reading MM, for Caln Quarter, for PYM. One of the three detention centers for asylum seekers is located within our immediate responsibility. This is more desperate than questions of immigrant politics, but involves basic human rights of children and there families. Are we interested?
June 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm #1440Jeanne ElberfeldMember
A little more information… Beautiful Berks County houses a detention center which holds up to 100 asylum seeking immigrants. Berks County Residential Center has been in operation since 2001, originally holding immigrants for short periods until family or friends sponsored them until decision on their case. It has become the focus of increased attention since the wave of undocumented children since 2014. One of the buildings in Berks County houses undocumented minors in a facility that is intended to house juvenile delinquents- despite none of the youth having committed acts defined as delinquent in Pennsylvania. The other building, houses women and children detained pending the adjudication of their immigration cases.
In the past the undocumented immigrant detention would last several days to weeks, with release to family or friends to await the adjudication. But in July, 2014 changes to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations now refuses release to family or friends and mandates detention until the case is decided. This decision results in prolonged detention; a period of months to over a year for some asylum seekers being held in the Berks County Center.
April 27, 2018 at 3:49 pm #7331Sara Susan PalmerParticipant
Hi, Peter! I only today came across your post from three years ago. While I’m not physically able to get out there and work with you (live in Philadelphia/work full time/no car), I would love to know more about what you and others are currently doing so I can spread the word to others.
My day job is as a public librarian. A few of my colleagues have a program that enables incarcerated adults to connect with and read aloud to their children through live video conferencing stations set up in prisons and in neighborhood libraries (see https://libwww.freelibrary.org/programs/prisonservices/ for more information). I am wondering if a library system in your vicinity might be able to pursue a similiar initiative with support from your community.
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