The Fairplex in Pomona will serve as an emergency intake site to temporarily house unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, Los Angeles County officials said.
The county's Office of Immigrant Affairs and Departments of Children and Family Services, Public Health, Health Services and Mental Health "will be activated to support the migrant youth in their transition," Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis announced Thursday.
Solis said she received a call from the White House.
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"I knew without question that it was our time to step up, as Los Angeles County always does," she said. "Los Angeles 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."
The Fairplex will become the second site in Los Angeles County to temporarily house unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, joining the Long Beach Convention Center under a proposal unanimously approved by the Long Beach City Council Tuesday.
Nearly 19,000 children traveling alone were stopped at the Mexican border in March, smashing previous highs set during periods of heavy child migration in 2014 and 2019.
Border encounters — a widely used but imperfect gauge that tells how many times U.S.authorities came across migrants — rose sharply during Donald Trump’s final months as president, from an unusually low 17,106 last April to 74,108 in December. They soared during President Joe Biden’s first months in office. Encounters totaled more than 172,000 in March, up from about 100,000 the previous month and the highest since March 2001.
Families and children traveling alone, who have more legal protections and require greater care, became a bigger part of the mix after Biden took office. They accounted for more than 40% of all encounters in March, up from 13% three months earlier.