City Officials Unaware Nearly 100 Migrant Children Transported Out of LGB Airport

Long Beach city officials were unaware that almost 100 unaccompanied minors were quietly put on a plane that departed from the Long Beach airport.

This occurred on April 22, just  hours after Mayor Robert Garcia, the City Council, and Congressman Alan Lowenthal gave a tour of the emergency shelter facility at the Long Beach Convention Center, followed by an optimistic press conference. Reportedly, according to an airport official who witnessed, as well as helped facilitate, the boarding of the flight, the children were being escorted by ICE agents on the tarmac.

In the following footage we watch as migrant children board a flight believed to be to Des Moines, Iowa where they will most likely be held in another detention center in hopes of being reunited with their family. In our research, we found it is likely they are going to temporarily be held at the Polk County Jail to then be transferred to a privately, for-profit, run facility. 

We reached out to Mayor Garcia for a statement, however Mayor Garcia’s office was unaware of this particular incident or that children were being transported out of the city at all. After being asked to provide a statement Mayor Garcia’s office refused to comment further. We have yet to hear back from the immigration and customs enforcement agency (ICE) on the matter nor the HHS, who are managing the facility here in Long Beach. 

With questions left unanswered we are unsure as to why the children were transported out of Long Beach airport when the Convention Center can house up to 1,000 children. As 100 children were transported out of the airport, the convention center remained well below its capacity.

As the Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted operations of many businesses throughout Long Beach along with the rest of the world, the Convention Center was expected to lose more than $50 million after various conventions and events were cancelled. The Grand Prix alone amasses an average of $32 million for the city annually. However, according to Long Beach’s contract with HHS, the city is expected to recuperate nearly all of the $50 million in revenue lost for housing the children from April to August of this year.

By: Jade Delao and Daniel Drake 

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