City and county officials announced Monday that the San Diego Convention Center will be used as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied children seeking asylum at the border, as the country faces a surge in claims for asylum along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A joint statement from San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and County Supervisor Chair Nathan Fletcher said the convention center would become a temporary shelter for those children after Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra reached out to leaders for help.
"When [Becerra] requested our help to house some of the unaccompanied minors at the border, we knew it was the right thing to do. Over the weekend, we agreed to open our Convention Center to the federal government for use as a temporary shelter. The City and County will support this federally funded effort by providing vital services to these vulnerable children who came to our country seeking safety. We are working closely with our federal partners to finalize the details for preparing to receive these young people and provide them with care, compassion and a safe space to transition while they are reunited with families or sponsors," the joint statement said.
A date is being finalized for when the convention center would become the temporary home. Those brought to the center will include children up to the age of 17 years old, county officials said. It wasn't immediately clear how many children would be brought to the center.
Once the site is operational, the site will be used for about three months, officials added, saying that the average stay for each child will be about 30 to 35 days. The center will provide food, medical care, sleeping arrangements, and showers. Space will also be secured for recreation. The children will not be allowed to leave the center until reunification, officials said. The HHS Refugee Resettlement Program will fund the temporary shelter at the center.
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