On November 30th, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would be ending its contract with the Berks County Residential Center effective January 31, 2023. Following this announcement, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean released the following statement:
“I’m deeply relieved by the news that our federal government is ending its contract with the Berks County Residential Center. Incarcerating asylum seekers is inhumane, and this detention center has long been a scourge in Berks County and in Pennsylvania.
Thank you to the tireless and fearless advocacy from the community, including the Shut Down Berks Coalition, ALDEA, and others. For years, organizations like theirs have rallied to bring dignity and justice to those who came to our nation in search of opportunity or seeking refuge from horrific circumstances — their efforts have made this possible.
Our work is not done. I look forward to repurposing the building in a way that will benefit our entire community. And we must continue to fight for humane and comprehensive immigration reform in the new Congress.”
Efforts to bring awareness and to close this facility have included protests and a surprise Congressional visit to the Center in July of 2019, as well as a Pennsylvania Congressional Letter, led by Congresswoman Dean in October of 2021, calling on the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract at the Berks County Residential Center.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.