No Room at the Inn for Detained Immigrant Families

Article_6326405Seems like there are problems with the closing of T. Don Hutto as an immigrant family detention center. Under the announced restructuring of oversight of immigrant detention centers, the controversial Hutto center will no longer be used for families with children and will only be used to house women immigrants. Families were to be transferred to another immigrant detention center, Berks Family Shelter Care Facility in Leesburg, Pennsylvania. Except no one checked with Berks, which apparently has no room for more immigrant families.

County Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt, who is chairman of the county prison board, said he was unaware of the move by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Kenneth A. Borkey Jr., executive director of the Bern Township facility, which houses families awaiting immigration hearings, said the center is at capacity.


While ICE could change the way it handles immigrant families, most whom are asylum seekers, for privately run immigrant detention centers each prisoner equals money.

Borkey said he planned to notify county commissioners and consult with immigration officials about reconfiguring the building to make room for more detainee families.

The county, which signed a contract with ICE that became effective Thursday, is reimbursed $197 a day per individual.

As for the conditions for children inside the Berks Family Shelter Care Facility, the center was a nursing home in the past, so it lacks some of the prison infrastructure that Hutto had but children over five are separated from their parents at night.

Via / T. Don Hutto

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