A total of 1,538 children passed through the doors of the local convention center Downtown, one of several sites across the country being used to temporarily house youth.
Many unaccompanied youth have languished at facilities like the one in Long Beach beyond what is allowed under a settlement agreement governing how they are to be treated, according to attorneys for the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, which has been monitoring the children at migrant centers across the county.
The lack of transparency over contractor operations at the migrant center concerned Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who has twice visited the facility.
Confidential data obtained by the AP shows the number of migrant children in government custody more than doubled in the past two months, and this week the federal government was housing around 21,000 kids, from toddlers to teens, including at a facility in Long Beach that opened April 22 and as of last week housed more than 700 children.
“That’s the heart of Christianity. If there are children who need help, we’re hopefully there to help them,” one church leader said.
The facility was hosting 729 kids as of Thursday. About 40 more are expected to leave the facility by the weekend.
Federal officials said 49 children have tested positive for COVID-19 and were being kept in isolation along with their siblings.
Donations of new books and toys are being accepted through May 8.
The Convention Center is expected to eventually house up 1,000 kids from mostly Central America who are waiting to be reunited with family or sponsors in the United States.
Anyone interested in donating toys can do so by either dropping them off at a West Long Beach location or requesting a pickup from volunteers helping Westside Elevate, the organization hosting the toy drive.