Category Archives: Women

NBC: Women Detained in Federal Immigrant Center Complain of Feeling Unsafe

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As usual, stellar reporting from Alexandra Villareal on what’s been going on inside the Berks County Residential Center since May.

But after 10 families who had stayed long-term at the facility were deported in May, men and their children replaced them, said Karen Hoffmann, a legal advocate for immigrants at Berks.

[One] woman, who was recently released from Berks after a months-long stay and asked to remain anonymous while her paperwork is processed, said: “All of the women were uncomfortable with this situation.”

When an influx of men arrived a few months ago, the county-run center placed them in dormitories adjacent to mothers and their kids, Hoffmann said and ICE has confirmed.

In May, while one of the mothers was resting in her room, a male resident reportedly walked in uninvited. Alarmed, the woman told her attorneys that she asked what he was doing there. He responded that he was searching for water, despite the cafeteria and snack areas being in other, distant parts of the center.

Some of the women at Berks have fled from domestic violence and sexual abuse in their countries, and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because of their experiences.

Read more about the inexcusably reckless situation ICE has created at Berks at NBC New York >>



SCOTUS should grant cert in Castro. Judicial review of Trump’s immigration detention regime depends on it



60 miles outside Philadelphia, on a bucolic country road in Berks County, PA, sits a brick building with a fenced-in yard fronting a line of trees. To look at it, you would never guess this place is the epicenter of the coming battles over judicial review of immigration detention in the United States.

Today the Supreme Court is conferencing to decide whether to grant a writ of certiorari in the case of Castro v. Department of Homeland Security.

Of the two dozen families who are the plaintiffs in Castro, about half have been released. But 14 families remain at Berks. They fled gender-based violence and threats to their lives in their home countries and sought asylum in the United States. After deeply flawed credible fear interviews and rubber-stamp affirmations by an immigration judge, they have languished in legal limbo for the past year and a half.

The Third Circuit decided that these families…

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Cost of birth control skyrockets

Is this happening in Pittsburgh, too?

Via Poynter Institute column Al’s Morning Meeting, this article in the Charleston (W.V.) Gazette:

Clinics in West Virginia and across the country providing free birth control to low-income men and women face a possible drought of contraceptive pills and patches after the top supplier drastically raised prices [last] month.

Prices for birth control products from Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc. to public health services leapt from a few pennies to more than $20 in some cases, meaning programs such as West Virginia Family Planning cannot buy the company’s products anymore. …

A 30-day supply of one type of pill that once cost a penny now costs $21.01, [West Virginia family planning program director Denise] Smith said. The Ortho Evra patch ran at $12.15, but now comes in at $22.46. About 4,800 low-income West Virginians got the patch last year, Smith said. …

The national picture looks just as bleak from the perspective of perpetually under-funded public health-care agencies, said Marilyn Keefe, vice president for public policy at National Family Planning Reproductive Health Association, a family planning center advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

“This price increase comes at a terrible time in the life of the public health care system,” she said. “It’s a hope that the company will rethink its decision and reverse those price increases. …”

The company followed federal Medicaid pricing formulas that change every financial quarter, the last being July 1, [Ortho-McNeil spokeswoman Julie] Keenan said. …

Switching birth control pills is not like changing your favorite soda or taking a different route to work. Each pill releases different levels and types of hormones with different effects, Maddox said.