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Inland state lawmakers oppose facility for undocumented immigrant children

Source: Jeff Horseman, The Press-Enterprise


Building a facility in the Inland Empire to house unaccompanied minors who crossed the U.S.-Mexican border is “a violation of human rights,” state lawmakers representing the region said Monday, Aug. 26, in a joint statement.

“As representatives of the Inland Empire, we condemn the use of space in any location, but especially in our community, to detain unaccompanied children,” the statement reads.

“Together, we have sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency to end its search for a location in the Inland Empire that would assist the Trump Administration in its efforts to expand detention centers, allow families to be separated and detained, or weaken the safeguards that currently exist to protect children in government custody.”

“Child Detention Centers for unaccompanied minors are a violation of human rights,” the statement says. “Unaccompanied child detention is harmful, costly, and completely unnecessary. United, we oppose any and all exploration for the establishment of any detention center here in the Inland Empire.”

Assembly members Jose Medina, D-Riverside; Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside; Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella; Eloise Gomez Reyes, D-Grand Terrace, and Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, as well as Sens. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Connie Leyva, D-Chino, signed onto the statement.

Federal officials earlier this month posted a notice seeking to lease an Inland facility to house up to 430 undocumented immigrant children determined to have crossed the border unaccompanied. House Democrats representing the Inland Empire also have expressed concerns about the proposed facility.