L.A. Could Help House Migrant Children

By City News Service

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday he believes the city can help find ways of providing shelter for some of the immigrant children who have poured across the U.S.-Mexico border to escape violence in Central America.

The mayor said the city was contacted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about possibly working with nonprofit groups to help find housing and legal representation for immigrant children.

“They (nonprofits) have a lot of experience with that, of helping reunify families and being able to – with private donations – be able to house children,” the mayor said.

Garcetti first discussed the issue at a morning forum hosted by Politico magazine, telling the crowd that the children are alone, and as Americans, we should “get them someplace safe and secure.”

Asked later about possible city involvement in finding shelter for the immigrant children, he said, “As a father, the most important thing for me is first to reunite them with their parents.”

But the mayor said the city could simply help the federal government connect with nonprofit groups that can provide services for the children while they await some resolution to their immigration cases.

“Here in Los Angeles … hopefully these kids can be less isolated and we can deal with the humanitarian aspects before we deal with their legal cases,” he said, noting that some of the children likely have family in the Los Angeles area.

Finding homes for the flood of Central American immigrants who have illegally crossed the border has become a heated national debate. It reached a boiling point in recent weeks in Murrieta in Riverside County, where residents protested the arrival of buses carrying immigrants to a Border Patrol station.

The vitriolic protest, featuring residents waving signs and flags, prompted the buses to re-route to San Ysidro near the border in San Diego County, where the immigrants were processed before being released to other facilities.

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July 17, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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