No Detention in A Sanctuary City!
The city of Philadelphia has once again proved that it is truly a welcoming city for its immigrant community. This afternoon the city’s zoning board denied an appeal by the Arizona based agency, Visionquest for their proposed juvenile immigrant detention center in the Logan section of the city. While this is a great step forward, we at Juntos commit to staying vigilant on this issue and will continue to fight back against this and any other form of detention in our communities.
Juntos, along with other community based groups, testified at a community town-hall organized by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker on the evening of March 29th. During this townhall it was very clear that Visionquest had one thing on their mind when it came to operating this detention center: profit.
Visionquest vehemently dismissed any and all attempts at accountability by community members. When they were questioned about previous documented cases of abuse of minors at their facilities they simply dismissed them as past events. They then proceeded to argue that by opening this detention center in one of the most underserved areas of the city that it would “revitalize” the neighborhood as well as “create jobs” for the community.The idea of revitalizing the neighborhood based on the further incarceration of communities of color was immediately rejected by community members in attendance.
An agency that clearly puts profit over people and takes no responsibility over abuse happening within their walls cannot be trusted to operate a detention center in our city.
“While Visionquest claims that these children are unaccompanied minors with no familial connections in the United States, there have been various cases just in the past few months alone of families unable to reunite with their children because of the parents’ immigration status. I have been witness to the pain and hardship that parents and guardians have experienced having their children not only separated from them, but detained far from any family members. Rather than continuing the detainment of black and brown communities, especially migrant children, we should be investing in community-led alternatives to detention.” Said Nicole Bañales, Community Case Manager of Juntos
The denial of the zoning permit is a powerful step towards protecting the lives and the sanctity of immigrant families in Philadelphia. Juntos looks forward to working alongside the community to fight for the rights and protection of not only of the immigrant community, but all marginalized communities as well.