Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
In a sternly worded letter alleging, among other things, “successful and attempted” middle of the night deportations, apparent misinformation about immigration status, and children being held for long periods of time, two more Pennsylvania politicians are calling on the Trump administration to come clean on a controversial ICE detention center in Berks County.
“We are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws,” U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District, wrote Thursday to ICE Acting Director Matthew T. Albence. “It is possible for the United States to foster an immigration system that respects both of these values … right now, the Berks facility is not furthering either of these goals.”
Casey and Houlahan visited the facility, located in Leesburg, Pa., near Reading, on Thursday. That visit came in response to reports of migrant families being denied access to medical care, mental health services, adequate sleep and information about the length of their detention, Casey’s office said in a statement.
Immigration advocates and their allies have been pressing both the Democratic Wolf administration and the Republican Trump administration to shutter the ICE facility, which is one of three family detention centers nationwide that holds migrant families as their cases are adjudicated. It is owned by Berks County and leased by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as ICE is formally known.
The Thursday letter from Casey and Houlahan also “seeks data regarding the length of time families are detained, and clarity on the medical, mental health and other services provided to families, with an emphasis on the availability of specialized care for children,” Casey’s office said in an email to journalists.
“During our visit, we were informed that residents have access to medical services at all hours provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps. However, we have heard troubling accounts of medical care not being provided until children are very ill,” Casey and Houlahan wrote. “We have also heard that when residents are sent to the hospital or outside medical services and provided a prescription, those prescriptions will not be filled automatically. Rather, ICE providers will review and determine whether to provide the treatment. In addition, there have been reported instances of families being separated when a parent or child is sent to outside medical services.”
Sarah Anne Hughes keeps our #PennForward project rolling. With the one year anniversary of Tree of Life upon us, she talks to Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, about his two-decade-long fight to solve gun violence.
Ex-Veep Joe Biden saw his Pa. fundraising slow down during the most recent reporting, our Washington reporter, Allison Stevens, reports.
Frequent flyer Nick Field took a look at changing voter registration patterns between 2016 and 2019 — and what that might mean for 2020 in Pennsylvania.
Here’s how Trump-loyal Republicans crashed a secure House hearing and abandoned all sense.
From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: The timeline for removing ex-Mayor Frank Rizzo’s statue has been pushed back — again.
On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz says 2020 Dems face two challenges: Standing up for LGBTQ Americans and winning over faith voters who went for Trump. And a gun violence reduction advocate from Squirrel Hill offers her prescription for healing our plague.
The Inquirer takes you inside an FBI investigation of Philly Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and his wife.
Pittsburgh City Paper ‘frack-checked’ some of President Donald Trump’s sketchiest claims during his visit to a natural gas industry conference in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Mack Trucks and the UAW have reached a tentative deal, ending a walkout, the Morning Call reports.
Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:
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Food cart owners in Philly tell WHYY-FM that they’re being pushed out of the city.
A committee says Allegheny County should create a children’s services department, WESA-FM reports.
Stateline.org looks at the ‘messy politics’ of purging the voter rolls.
A Trump hotel lease is the latest target of a congressional subpoena, Roll Call reports.
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.
Because sometimes you just need some Lizzo on your Friday morning ‘cos you’re feeling ‘Good as Hell.’
Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Our beloved Carolina Hurricanes dropped a 4-3 decision to Columbus in overtime on Thursday. Today’s another day.
And now you’re up to date.