LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – The city of Long Beach says it will open its Convention Center to assist federal authorities with what they’re calling “a humanitarian situation” at the U.S. southern border.
Officials said Monday that “at the request of the federal government,” the city of Long Beach was specifically requested “to assist with this humanitarian mission to safely house children who are unattended by their parents.”
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The city determined the Long Beach Convention Center “would be the optimal site to provide housing, food, recreational and other services” for up to 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children for as long as three to four months.
Under the proposed plan, 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, according to officials.
“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.”
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The city has been formally notified that the federal government wishes to designate the Long Beach Convention Center as an emergency shelter site.
Since January, the Convention Center has served as a COVID-19 vaccine super site. It’s unclear whether those operations will continue under the proposal.
The Long Beach City Council is expected to review the plan on Tuesday.
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If approved, the shelter is expected to open and soon as possible, perhaps within days.