Federal authorities announced plans to house detained migrant children—captured at the U.S./Mexico border—at a detention facility in Los Angeles County, drawing ire from LA County Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, in whose district the facility would be located.
The proposed site for the new facility is in Arleta, a small community in the San Fernando Valley just north of Panorama City and not far from Mission San Fernando.
Kuehl, who also represents Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains, has been outspoken in her protestations against the detention center, the bid for which was awarded to Tucson-based Vision Quest.
“Over the last three years, LA County has made clear over and over that we will not cooperate in the federal government’s demonization of immigrants and the destruction of their families. I vigorously oppose the opening of a proposed immigrant detention center for youth in my district,” Kuehl said in a statement released to the press. “I do not believe that breaking up families has any place in American immigration policy, and I do not believe that tearing children out of their parent’s arms and placing them in cages makes America safer or more secure. When the history of these times is written, these immigrant detention centers will be viewed as a stain on the national conscience. I encourage my constituents and other elected officials to stand up and join in the effort to oppose this facility.”
According to its website, Vision Quest is a “national, comprehensive at-risk youth services organization, committed to provide highly successful intervention services to at-risk youth and their families, while adhering to the highest professional standards.”
The organization received federal grants totaling $25 million over three years to “hold hundreds of the unaccompanied minors in its custody in California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico,” according to reporting done by Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting. That report added Vision Quest efforts to open shelters in Philadelphia, San Antonio and Albuquerque were blocked by city officials in those areas, who alleged “staff members had choked, slapped and injured children, and promised to ‘make life a living hell’ for them, according to state inspection records later obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer.”