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10/31/2015 | Combating Discriminatory Policing, Building an Immigrant Justice Initiative

One Step Closer to Shutting Down Berks County Detention Center

The Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania is one of only three family detention centers in the country (the other two are in Texas). Immigration advocates have said that the Berks County Residential Center operates illegally and that families who enter the country seeking asylum should not be detained.

The center has come under scrutiny through the debate over how the federal government should respond to the influx of refugees fleeing violence in Central and South America. Members of Make the Road Pennsylvania have been protesting the facility and on October 22 the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services issued a press statement stating that they believe that the Berks County Residential Center as a family residential center is inconsistent with its current license as a child residential facility.

The Department has not yet taken any final action, but they are holding off on a request to expand the capacity of the facility from 96 residents to 192 residents until Berks County Residential Center is in compliance.

This is a major step towards closing down this detention center once and for all.