Congressman: San Diego Convention Center became migrant children’s ‘Ellis Island, their Statue of Liberty’


SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — While the last of the children left the San Diego Convention Center about a week ago, Thursday marked the official end of the program to house unaccompanied children at the facility.

Back in March, the city and county of San Diego came up with a plan to house young migrants who had been apprehended while crossing the border without their parents or their families.

Initially, it was only teen girls who arrived at the facility but later young boys and girls were also brought here.

“For the young children, this was their Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, this is where they needed help,” said Congressman Juan Vargas.

Vargas represents California’s 51st district, which covers the entire border area between California and Mexico.

He was among a group of elected officials to speak at a news conference touting the virtues and success of the migrant children’s stay at the center.

“The network of support they found here in San Diego was exactly what all of us expected from our town,” said Scott Peters, Congressman for California’s 52nd District. “They arrived to find a network of compassionate, caring, skilled and talented care providers who were ready to do the right thing for these kids during an extremely difficult time in their lives.”

Peters and the others insisted housing the children at the convention center was the right thing to do.

“This wasn’t meant to be the answer to immigration or asylum reform — this was a moment of compassion,” said said.

“What dominated here was collaboration, empathy, compassion and the desire to do right by these children,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

In under four months that the convention center took in migrant children, a little more than 2,400 stayed at the facility before being relocated with relatives across the country or to foster families.

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