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LA Gets Another Emergency Shelter For Migrant Children: The Pomona Fairplex

Asylum seekers wait to cross into the United States in Tijuana on February 19, 2021. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)
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On the heels of Long Beach approving its convention center for use as an emergency shelter for unaccompanied migrant children, the Pomona Fairplex has been announced as a second child migrant shelter in the L.A. area.

The Fairplex will temporarily house up to 2,500 migrant children who have been in the custody of U.S Customs and Border Protection. The federal government has already set up similar shelters at convention centers in San Diego and Dallas due to overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities. The idea is to shelter the children until they can be reunited with family members or sponsors in the U.S.

L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis, whose district includes the Fairplex, said in a statement that the county has “a responsibility and an opportunity to care for unaccompanied minors coming to the United States. This is not a border crisis – but, instead, it is everyone’s crisis."

In a Friday press conference Solis defended the plan, saying, “It’s not a detention facility, it’s not cages, it’s not jail. Certainly not a detention camp.”

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Fernando Romero, director of the Pomona Economic Opportunities Center, an immigrant and workers' rights non-profit, said his organization will be keeping a critical watch on the situation.

“We look forward to engaging with them to ensure that these set-ups at the Pomona Fairplex or the Long Beach Convention Center don’t become more than just temporary, that they’re expedient, that they get these children in and out and reunite them with their family members or their loved ones," Romero told us.

Several immigrant rights organizations that have voiced opposition to the Long Beach emergency shelter, demanding that the site be closed within 90 days and that children be promptly reunited with family members.