Guzman praises closing of controversial center for immigrants

READING, Dec. 1 -- State Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, today praised the decision of the federal government to shut down the Berks County Residential Center, what he describes as a hard-won victory for the community.

“I’m glad that this facility is finally closed. This long-awaited moment is the result of a lot of work and the joint effort of the community. This is very rewarding because I embraced this battle as my mission,” Guzman said about the facility registered as a short-term option for families seeking asylum or awaiting deportation.

Guzman 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. He was joined in the letter by more than 50 state and local elected officials including other state representatives and state senators.

“Once again, we see what happens when we as a community form an alliance and fight for what is right for us. I am honored to have been joined by so many of my colleagues to take a stand against ICE and their repulsive practice of subjecting immigrants to human rights violations,” Guzman said.

The center, established in 2001 and located in the Bern Township, was often the center of conflict in past years due to its reputation as a hazardous place where undocumented immigrants seeking asylum were systematically mistreated.