(CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of undocumented children who crossed the border into the United States on their own are being sent to Southern California.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened a new detention facility in a former warehouse on Naval Base Ventura County because centers in Texas and Arizona are so packed with the youth.
Since October, 47,000 kids have been picked up, which is a 92 percent increase from the same period last year.
The children, who were mostly found in Texas, are trying to escape crime and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
KCAL9’s Kent Shocknek reports that the kids are responding to reports the U.S. will allow them in with no repercussions.
On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had words for the children’s parents.
“Illegal migration through the south Texas border is not safe. A processing center is no place for your child,” Johnson said.
Supporters of tighter immigration rules said vague deportation policies are encouraging migrants to cross the border illegally.
Immigration rights groups filed a complaint against U.S. Customs and Border Protection, claiming more than 100 unaccompanied immigrant children have been underfed and even abused in U.S. custody.