Deported mother and daughter protest family detention in Berks County
Activists and members of immigrant communities in the Philadelphia region gathered over the weekend for a protest outside of the Berks Detention Center in Pennsylvania as part of a national week of action against family detention.
Among them, Ana and her 12 year-old daughter Yubitza, who spent a year in the center before being deported to Guatemala last month despite the fact that they applied for asylum on the basis of domestic violence and ICE stated in court that they would not deported.
After the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ordered ICE to bring Ana and Yubitza back, they arrived to the Berks Family Residential Center on Thursday night, and they were released on Friday, the day before the protest. Ana was provided an electronic monitoring device as an alternative to detention while continuing their immigration process.
On June 8, 10 women detained in the Berks Family Detention Center began a work strike citing unfair treatment, neglect, and abuse. Later that month, the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson released a statement concluding substantial changes must be made to detention practices when it comes to families.
Activists who participated in the protest are calling to end family detention programs and close detention centers across the nation.