Child Support: Garcetti Says L.A. Will Help Shelter Detained Immigrant Minors

Politics Comments

As federal lawmakers argue over how to deal with the unprecedented number of unaccompanied children from Central America that have been detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement this year, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has raised his hand with a suggestion: let the city of L.A. help.

Garcetti announced at an event hosted by Politico on Tuesday that Los Angeles would help shelter some of the more than 52,000 children taken into custody after crossing the border, and that he has been in touch with a federal agency about how to do so. Details of the relief effort are just coming together, but here is what we know now:

When will some of the detained children come to Los Angeles?
Garcetti says he has already contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding his plan of action. According to the mayor’s spokeswoman, Vicki Curry, a timeline as to when children would arrive is not yet set.

Where will they live?
“The HHS asked mayor Garcetti to convene a meeting with local non-profit organizations,” Curry told us, and so the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs met with 50 organizations (among them the California Community Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, and the Red Cross) who have volunteered to help find homes for some of the children. Other cities also open to welcoming the young immigrants are taking matters into their own hands: the City of Bell has been in talks with the Salvation Army as well as federal officials to set up a shelter for detainees. Should that plan move forward, the Los Angeles Times reports, Bell would be able to take in 125 children.

What will it cost to transport and shelter the children and who will cover the expense?
Garcetti was not able to state how much this venture could cost, but he said that federal funds would be used to pay for the immigrants’ temporary shelter and legal representation. Curry shared that no city services or resources would be allocated for the effort.

Will the children become U.S. Citizens?
It’s unclear. Unlike immigrant children from Mexico, children from Central America are protected under 2008’s Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorizaton Act, which was initially instituted in an effort to prevent child trafficking. Per the law, Central American children are required to have a court hearing to determine if they will be either deported or permitted to stay. The process is lengthy and only becoming more so: “Because of a backlog, which is growing greatly with the recent influx…a kid released tomorrow could stay in the U.S. for up to three years waiting for that date,” says NPR’s Carrie Kahn.

Why should these children come to Los Angeles?
It is Garcetti’s feeling that welcoming illegal immigrants into Los Angeles will strengthen our community rather than weaken it. Yesterday he referenced a statistic that 62 percent of Los Angeles residents are either immigrants or children of immigrants. “Our competitive strength will come from being able to integrate immigrants that aren’t going anywhere, that need to be earning scholarships, paying more taxes, having drivers licenses; we can only gain from that,” he said. “The status quo as it is is broken and costs us a lot of money.”

Garcetti’s proposal, while commendable for its compassion, has raised opposition from homeless communities. In an interview with CBS, Ted Hayes, the founder of the local homeless facility Dome Village, pointed out that there are American children on our own streets who we should be focusing on first. “It’s kind of a slap in the face to U.S. citizens,” Hayes said. “It’s embarrassing. It’s hurtful. Because it’s like a father saying that he loves children outside of the family more than he loves his own…We feel for them. We feel their pain. But we are feeling pain of our own children first.”

When asked how the mayor’s office was responding to Hayes’s comments, Curry said, “We aren’t.”

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  • Phil

    We citizens are being threatened with fines of up to $500 a day for ‘wasting water’. The streets are filled with homeless. Our taxes are through the roof. Crimes is rising. Yet, this Mayor thinks we have enough resources to import thousands of unaccompanied minors from other states? This is a crazy plan that only encourages thousands more to follow. Please, Mr. Garcetti, fix our city before you start importing more problems.

    • Ted

      Oh, please, Phil – he’s the MAYOR of LOS ANGELES. It’s his duty to do the most idiotic thing possible at the expense of the people he’s supposed to represent. He’s really following in Villaraigosa’s footsteps.

  • Ted

    “When asked how the mayor’s office was responding to Hayes’s comments, Curry said, ‘We aren’t.'”

    Curry would have been more honest if he replied “We can’t. Hayes is right.”

  • Mark Reed

    The problem is not the California – Mexico – Arizona border.

    The problem is Mexico’s southern border is not protected. So by the time the group of adults with their children have reached America (Texas, Arizona, California), the Coyote’s have utilized Mexico’s resources (legally or illegally). Mexico does not want this group of people burdening their nation. It is more politically advantageous to usher them across our border as part of a strategy to see immigration reform, of which Mexico would benefit greatly in future trade agreements.

    So the Coyote’s cargo (HUMANS: women and children) are being used as pawns in a long overdue political strategy to change America’s immigration laws. Ironically, January 21st 2008 the immigration issue could have been the first order of business, with a Democrat Congress, a Democrat Senate and a Nation focused on a historical election. Any member of Congress could have initiated some resolve in this perfect scenario.

    Why did Brad Sherman sit quiet? Why does he continue to sit quiet?

    Statistics reveal that in 2012, in the Berman-Sherman face off, Sherman received votes from Hispanics, while Jewish voters in the district chose the more transparent Berman.
    Clearly, Sherman is concerned about losing the Hispanic vote in November 2014. What he has not addressed is how much the border issue is affecting his Hispanic constituents and voters. Hispanics who are here working, paying a mortgage, sending their children to college, and planning for retirement.

    A July 22nd press release” detailed California’s official stance on the Border situation in response to queries by Californians and the subsequent legal use by Texas’s Governors of National Guard to protect their southern border.

    Capt. Will Martin of the California Military Department said , “The border shared by Texas and Mexico presents a significantly different set of considerations than those presented by the border shared by California and Mexico,”

    Therefore, unlike the Governor of Texas, Governor Brown would not deploy military to protect the California-Arizona-Mexico borders. Instead, Governor Browns’ strategy was to meet with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs on July 23rd. Then, this week he is on a trade mission to Mexico.

    So, it is quite understandable why the Governor wants to keep a friendly climate for discussions this week with the Mexican government. We wonder if his safety while in Mexico was also of concern.

    Absolutely, this is the best way to help our friendly southern neighbors. These discussions should have happened years ago.

    The ubiquitous “Made in China” which is best translated “Not Made by Americans in America” could have said “Made in Mexico & America” if Congressman Brad Sherman, a ranking member of the trade subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had forward thinking for constituents rather than his investor donors. Congressman Berman should have been traveling with his entourage of Congressmen from the ……….. Committee to Mexico rather than Asia, as he did in February under the guise of fact-finding for the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

    I am running for Congress in the 30th Congressional district because Brad Sherman has had 9 terms to do a whole lot more than he has ESPECIALLY REGARDING IMMIGRATION and RESPONSIBLE TRADE AGREEMENTS. I want us to Respect Veterans, I want Respect FOR Immigrants, Restore Job, and Restore our Dignity.

    I was endorsed in the primary by Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan endorsed Brad Sherman in the November 2012 election over Howard Berman. However, he has clearly and purposely chosen Mark Reed, in 2014, as the most effective candidate to resolutely represent the SFV in the 30th Congressional District. Please listen to the 2012 interview by Michael Reagan about his support and endorsement of Mark Reed by going to my website MarkReedForCongress.