LEESPORT, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Federal immigration agents plan to start deporting 26 families from an ICE detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania on Friday.
Officials said their families' asylum requests were denied earlier this year. Earlier this week, a federal court in Washington D.C. lifted the stay of removal that had been protecting these families from being deported.
The families, from central and South America, are part of a larger group in Pennsylvania and Texas, detained for more than a year.
One father said, "We fled Haiti due to government violence against us. We were university students speaking out against human rights abuse, injustice. We were attacked, beaten and barely escaped. We came to the US thinking 'this is where we will find refuge', only to be thrown in prison for more than 8 months. We are human beings too, our children are human beings too and should not have to suffer like this..."
National advocacy organizations are demanding congress to intervene.
Agents to deport families from ICE's Berks County detention center