Pennsylvania detention center frees migrant families | Government and Politics

Pennsylvania detention center frees migrant families |  Government and Politics

LEESPORT, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania facility used by the U.S. government to detain immigrant asylum seekers has released several families and no longer holds children and parents, according to activists and U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

The Berks County Residential Center, outside of Reading, was one of three family detention centers in the United States that housed children and parents seeking asylum or who entered the country illegally . Activists have long called for the detention center to be closed.

Casey’s office said on Monday that U.S. immigration and customs services had confirmed the families’ release. An ICE spokesperson made no immediate comment on Monday.

Some 25 people, including 15 children, in seven or eight families were released last week, according to Bridget Cambria, executive director of the Aldea group, which represents families at the Leesport detention center.

“They have been returned to their families in all corners of the United States where they have been received with love, care and support and where they will continue their immigration process,” Cambria said.

The county-run facility in Leesport, about 65 miles northwest of Philadelphia, has been under contract with immigration authorities since 2001.

Immigrant rights groups have long called for an end to family detention, alleging medical negligence and other abuse. At one point, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services refused to renew the centre’s license.

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