WASHINGTON — Yesterday, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04) led a letter with Pennsylvania Congressional colleagues to urge the Department of Homeland Security to Terminate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract at the Berks County Residential Center.
In March 2021, the Berks County Residential Center was vacated largely due to the treatment of children and other detainees within the detention center. There were also concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19. On August 19, the Berk County Commissioner announced they would bring detainees back to the detention center as a women-only center. Congresswoman Dean has been working with several community partners to stop this process, originally projected for mid-September.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, placing women into detention centers is unconscionable, especially when there is a track record of harm, abuse, and sexual violence,” Rep. Dean said. “Incarcerating asylum seekers, whether they are women, families, or children is inhumane.”
The letter was signed by Representatives Evan (PA-03), Scanlon (PA-05), and Boyle (PA-02). The letter was endorsed by the following organizations: Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Aldea - the People’s Justice Center, Free Migration Project, Japanese American Citizens League - Philadelphia Chapter, FUUBC Immigration Team, Make the Road Pennsylvania, Berks Stands Up, Shut Down Berks Interfaith Witness, Human Rights First, and Shut Down Berks Coalition.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
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.