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Immigrant Advocates Call to End ICE Contract and Plan for Women’s Prison in Pennsylvania

Plus: Massachusetts protesters demand release of ICE detainees, and the Del Rio, Texas, border crossing reopens

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Activists celebrated when the last immigrant families left the Berks County, Pennsylvania, jail months ago — but they were afraid it might reopen. Then, last month, Berks County commissioners voted to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use the jail to hold women seeking asylum. About 100 people gathered on Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Saturday to protest the new plans. Immigrant advocates have been criticizing the facility’s conditions and argued asylum seekers should be released to live with family members or sponsors in the community. Speakers emphasized they want to see the facility shut down completely. The Philadelphia Inquirer 

In other national immigration news…

Protesters Demand Release of Immigrant Detainees in Plymouth

A group of over 60 protesters marched to Massachusetts’ Plymouth County Correctional Facility to demand the sheriff terminate the jail’s contract with ICE to house immigrant detainees. This march came two weeks after Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald ended a different agreement with the agency, which allowed corrections officers to act as federal agents and inform ICE about detainees who were suspected of immigration violations. “This facility was specifically constructed to hold federal, state and local detainees and it’s something that’s been done over the past five sheriffs and past five presidents,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said. According to federal data, the jail housed 77 ICE detainees as of last month. The Patriot Ledger 

Texas Border Crossing Reopens

Late Saturday afternoon, U.S. Customs and Border Protection partially reopened the Del Rio, Texas border crossing where thousands of Haitian migrants gathered over the last few weeks. According to federal and local officials, no migrants stayed at the encampment Friday after almost 15,000 individuals were expelled from the U.S. while some others were able to seek asylum. Officials said in a statement that trade and travel operations would continue at the Del Rio port of entry for passenger traffic on Saturday and cargo traffic will reopen on Monday. The border crossing between Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico temporarily closed on Sept. 17 when migrants made a camp under the border bridge. The Associated Press 

Texas Gov. Offers to Hire Border Patrol Agents Under Investigation

Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) defended U.S. Border Patrol agents who are under investigation for charging at migrants on horseback at the U.S.-Mexico border. “I will hire you to help Texas secure our border,” Abbott said on Fox News Sunday. Abbott said President Joe Biden and his administration should be blamed for the agents’ misbehaviors because the federal government didn’t prevent Haitian migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Abbott also suggested the state undertake some functions at the border even though the U.S. Constitution says the federal government needs to take the responsibility. Politico 

California Gov. Signs Law Replacing ‘Alien’ with ‘Noncitizen’ or ‘Immigrant’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Assembly Bill 1096 last week to remove the term “alien” from California code. The term is often used to describe undocumented immigrants from other countries who live in the U.S. Assemblymember Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, said she was inspired by President Joe Biden’s immigration plan to remove the word from federal law and replace it with “noncitizen.” Newsom said in a statement, “This important legislation removes the word ‘alien,’ which is not only an offensive term for a human being, but for far too long has fueled a divisive and hurtful narrative.” The Sacramento Bee

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