LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The Long Beach City Council Tuesday is expected to approve a plan that would open its convention center to assist federal authorities with what they’re calling “a humanitarian situation” at the U.S. southern border.
Officials said Monday that “at the request of the federal government,” the city of Long Beach was specifically requested “to assist with this humanitarian mission to safely house children who are unattended by their parents.”READ MORE: California Focusing On Urgent Projects As Wildfire Season Looms
If approved, the children could begin arriving as early as next week and the convention center would be used as a shelter through at least August.
The city determined the Long Beach Convention Center “would be the optimal site to provide housing, food, recreational and other services” for up to 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children for as long as three to four months.
Under the proposed plan, the federal government would be responsible for both funding and providing the major services needed to care for the children, with Long Beach playing a supporting role, providing the facility, and making connections to other appropriate non-profit and government services, according to officials.READ MORE: Future Of Hollywood's Cinerama Dome Still In Question
“Long Beach has a proud and long history of welcoming and helping immigrants and refugees. From our Cambodian community to the work done by our churches and faith organizations, we have led with compassion and kindness,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “As an immigrant, I know how important it is to support all people, especially children — and I am proud to support our country in this important work.”
The city has been formally notified that the federal government wishes to designate the Long Beach Convention Center as an emergency shelter site.
Since January, the Convention Center has served as a COVID-19 vaccine super site. It’s unclear whether those operations will continue under the proposal.MORE NEWS: Paul Flores, Father Arrested In 1996 Disappearance Of Kristin Smart
The Long Beach City Council approved the plan at its Tuesday evening meeting.