Protest planned tomorrow at Berks immigration facility

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 10, 2015 4:44 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

(Reading) -- Some musicians are taking their show on the road, to protest conditions at a midstate facility for undocumented immigrants.

Advocates allege at the Berks County Residential Center, undocumented immigrants are depressed, traumatized, and sometimes get night terrors.

About 90 children and parents live at the facility, operated by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Erika Almiron, executive director of the Latino immigrant nonprofit Juntos, and says the center should be closed.

"This isn't about just one action, but this is also about a long-term opportunity to change the course of this state," says Almiron.

"They are very far away from their families. Many of them don't have family in the area, so they have very little to no visitors. And so we go to talk to them to make sure that they're okay and stay in communication and let them know that they're cared for," she adds.

Almiron claims some families at the facility are on work strike, but ICE says the program is voluntary.

Almiron says she expects a couple hundred people to join her at the protest and concert.

An ICE spokeswoman acknowledges, in the past, some families were held for more than a year.

But she questions many of the claims of mistreatment in Berks County, pointing to a medical staff that numbers about 20.

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