I heard this evening that the stay has been lifted on deporting the families who have been held at the Berks County Residential Center for the past year and a half. This is the letter I sent to Gov. Wolf, who apparently has the power to close the facility and free the families. If you want to, you can email the Governor directly or use this form provided by the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC).
Governor Tom Wolf,I am calling on you to work with Secretary Ted Dallas and the PA DHS to immediately issue an Emergency Removal Order (ERO), which would ensure that the families at the Berks Family Detention Center are released to the care of their families and communities, and work to ensure that the Center is shut down permanently.As you surely know, Pennsylvania is home to the Berks County Family Detention Center (BCRC), one of several detention centers for immigrant families, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated and some families have been held for almost two years.I have attended several vigils there and spoken to the lawyers as well as members of the local faith community who have been involved with these families. My heart breaks for these families who have been treated so badly for the “crime” of wanting to escape violence in their home countries. I was further saddened last week when the Supreme Court chose to not hear these families’ cases. I wrote about it here.As I understand it, Gov. Wolf, you have the power to shut the doors of BCRC and pressure ICE to release these families. If you can, you should, because this place and what has happened here is a stain on our commonwealth and on your stewardship of the people living within it—including the most vulnerable, which these families most certainly are. I am sure it would require great courage—political and otherwise—to do this. And that, sir, is exactly why I voted for you—in the hope that you would have the courage to do the right thing for those who are most vulnerable. That is exactly the crucible of political office. I implore you, Gov. Wolf, to hold up values of compassion and justice.You did not create this situation, but if you can end it, you should. Period. End of sentence. And be heartened to know that if you do, I and many others will stand with you. More importantly, you’ll be standing with justice and compassion.With respect,