Guzman asks Biden, Harris to terminate ICE contract at Berks County Residential Center

READING, July 28 – State Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, has asked President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to terminate the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract at the Berks County Residential Center.

Guzman said that the unprecedented move was needed because Harrisburg has been slow or ineffective in acting on behalf of families there. Guzman was joined in the letter by more than 50 state and local elected officials.

In it, Guzman states that it has been nearly five months since the most previously detained families were freed to their loved ones and sponsors, adding that the facility must permanently end those egregious practices once and for all.

“This is the first time in many years that the Berks County Residential Center has stood without detained immigrant families within its walls,” Guzman wrote. “We believe that this decision is only the first step toward ending family detention once and for all in this country. Incarcerating immigrants – whether they are families, children or single adults – is cruel, inhumane, abusive, unnecessary and immoral.

“It is a violation not only of American civil liberties but also of international human rights.”

The letter, signed by a vast coalition of state senators and representatives, makes an unwavering case against new plans to detain, process, incarcerate or subject immigrants to federal actions within the facility.

“I am honored and humbled to have been joined by so many of my colleagues from both the Pennsylvania State Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to take a stand against ICE and their abominable history of subjecting immigrants to human rights violations that have no place in the United States of America,” Guzman said.

“Ending this archaic contract with ICE, coupled with the underlying goal of repurposing the facility for community benefit, will have positive ripple effects for future generations in Berks County and beyond.”