State lawmakers call for end to family deportations at Berks ICE facility

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This undated photo obtained from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows a NeoScan 45 fingerprint scanner. The device, paired with an app known as EDDIE, is used by ICE to run remote ID checks. The app has been a core tool in President Donald Trump’s deportation crackdown, according to a new report based on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — State lawmakers are asking federal officials to bring an end to family deportations and release children currently being held at the Berks County Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility.

Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and Welcoming PA Caucus sent a letter to the acting director of ICE, Tony Phan, requesting the release of 23 children and 28 families. The lawmakers emphasized how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could worsen cramped spaces and unsanitary conditions at the Berks facility, which could result in a human rights crisis.

“If your office completes plans to deport these families, they face likely death or torture in their home country,” the lawmakers wrote. “Family detention goes against our most fundamental values as a society. And it is unconscionable to not correct this injustice.”

In addition to sending a letter to Phan, Pa. lawmakers asked Governor Tom Wolf to issue an Emergency Removal Order to compel the families’ release.

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