On Monday, August 8th, 2016, 22 Central American mothers inside Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania launched a hunger strike demanding their immediate release from detention. Most of the families in Berks have been incarcerated for more than six months and many have been detained for one year. As a result, some of the youngest children in the facility have spent nearly one-third of their life in prison-like conditions. The average length of stay at Berks far exceeds the Obama administration’s stated goal to limit detention to an average of twenty days or less, a standard created to comply with recent federal court rulings.
Here in Washington State, community organizers have protested similarly unjust detention and deportation of immigrant families at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
WASHINGTON STATE UU VOICES FOR JUSTICE STATEMENT
In response, William McPherson, Board President of the Washington State Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice issued the following statement:
We bear witness to and condemn the unjust realities of our current national immigration policy, as evidenced by the shameful conditions of detention at Pennsylvania’s Berks County Residential Center. More must be done by the current administration, including placing a temporary moratorium on deportations. On the state level, UU Voices for Justice supports efforts in Washington to end family detention and provide all asylum-seeking families a meaningful opportunity for protection, rather than punishing them for exercising their fundamental human right to seek asylum.