The United States is experiencing a humanitarian situation at our southern border, with a significant number of unaccompanied minors currently housed in overcrowded Border Patrol facilities.
To ensure the safety and well-being of each child, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, has requested assistance from local governments throughout the United States to provide temporary facilities for these children, while the federal government quickly reconnects them with family members or sponsors in the United States. Long Beach specifically has been requested to assist with this humanitarian mission to safely house children who are unattended by their parents.
“Long Beach has a proud and long history of welcoming and helping immigrants and refugees. From our Cambodian community to the work done by our churches and faith organizations, we have led with compassion and kindness.” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “As an immigrant, I know how important it is to support all people, especially children — and I am proud to support our country in this important work.”
At the request of the federal government, the City explored potential sites to assist and has determined that the Long Beach Convention Center would be the optimal site to provide housing, food, recreational and other services to these children in need. The Convention Center would temporarily accommodate up to 1,000 children for a period of 90 to 120 days. The federal government would be responsible for both funding and providing the major services needed to care for the children, with Long Beach playing a supporting role, providing the facility, and making connections to other appropriate non-profit and government services.
The City has now been notified that the federal government would like to proceed with designating the Long Beach Convention Center as an emergency shelter site. This item will be placed in front of the Long Beach City Council for their review and approval. That review is tentatively anticipated for April 6, 2021.