FREE THE FAMILIES - FUND BERKS ON-THE-GROUND ADVOCACY
Organized by: Bridget Cambria
FREE THEM ALL - SUPPORT BERKS MOMS
In 2014, the United States government began engaging in a policy of indefinitely detaining women and children in immigration detention, should an empty bed be available. These are refugee women and children fleeing horrific gender, child and sexual violence in the Northern Triangle.
Aldea – the People’s Justice Center was established to address legal, medical and social issues surrounding the immigrant community of the greater Reading, Pennsylvania area. Although we have many long-term hopes and goals for Aldea, the most immediate project is focused on providing removal defense for every mother and child trapped in family detention in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Berks is home to the oldest family detention center for refugee moms and their children in the nation. It is currently holding vulnerable children and mothers for over a year. This no release policy for mothers and children fails to recognize the horrific effects detention has on children and victims of trauma. As a result, many mothers and their young children suffer, not only extremely difficult legal cases, but also physical, psychological, social and emotional effects of detention.
These families need a variety of services – coordination of legal services to move their immigration cases forward, language access, proper documentation and monitoring of grievances. They need a caring, diligent advocate they can access on a daily basis. Our OTG advocates provide this invaluable support.
The continuation of this fundraiser will ensure that advocates remain on the ground in Berks for each and every family. It will also ensure that those advocates coordinate pro bono legal services for every family that wants it.
Since advocates have been on the ground in Berks, children have been protected. Families have been granted Asylum, children and mothers have been freed from detention, and families have been reunited. Immediate deportations have been stopped either on the way to the airport or on the plane because of coordinated legal services initiated by the Berks OTG legal advocate. Given our fierce advocacy so far, dedication, and compassion, it is well worth investing in support.
This fundraiser will also support volunteers who visit Berks and support families through case development, language services, and necessary administrative tasks, supplies, filing fees and travel. We will make every effort for these mothers not feel abandoned at such critical times.
Berks holds the most vulnerable and legally complex cases in family detention. The only way to secure freedom for these refugee families is to succeed legally or to advocate for their humanitarian release, while combating the physical and mental devastation brought by their prolonged detention. As we continue to develop systems in response to this crisis, supporting Berks on the ground and other volunteer efforts will be essential in our efforts to help these mothers and children access protection and liberty within the United States.