YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Advocates are rallying to fight for the release of immigrants being held inside of the York County Prison.
At the beginning of the month, the York County Prison announced its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be ending on August 12.
Since that announcement members of the immigrant advocacy group CASA have been calling for those detainees to be released to their families, instead of transferred to another facility.
On Friday evening they held a rally to push for that. Mirna Gonzalez was one of the speakers.
“We want them to be liberated, not transferred,” Gonzalez said.
CASA’s Pennsylvania Director Thais Carrero says since the end of the contract was announced around 90 immigrants have been released to their families. However, around 100 of them are still locked inside.
“The pressure is working. Folks have been released. But we know that there are folks inside that also deserve a chance to go back to their families, and that’s why we’re here today,” Carrero said.
Behind their passion is pain for their community. CASA member Sobeida Rosa translated the words of one of the speakers at the rally.
“We don’t want them to be transferred and continue with all the abuse that they’ve been going through. We don’t want them to suffer anymore. We don’t want them to be away from their families any longer,” Rosa translated.
An official with ICE tells abc27 News that right now the plan is to transfer all of the immigrant detainees being held at the York County Prison to a different ICE facility. They couldn’t specify where.
The official also said the reason for that is all of the detainees currently being held there have criminal records that make them ineligible to be released before their hearings in immigration court.
“Want to make sure that the narrative doesn’t become that immigrants are criminals because that is simply not true. They’re taking care of their families, seeking a better future, paying taxes just like you and me,” Carrero said.
The group is determined to continue fighting until every immigrant gets to be home.
“It’s been great to have folks come back to their families,” Carrero said. “So we always celebrate, but we recognize that there is always work to do and we’re up for the challenge.”
A spokesperson for York County emphasized the decision to end the contract with ICE was about financial, not political reasons. They say it is entirely up to ICE what happens with the detainees.