Migrant children were beginning to arrive in Long Beach Thursday, where they will be housed at the city’s convention center.
LAURIE PEREZ: Yes, the children have been arriving in groups throughout the day. We understand that will continue throughout this evening. And these are all kids whose family or sponsors have already been identified. The plan is to get them connected as quickly as possible.
- These 12 kids are going to get here at noon, have traveled all night.
LAURIE PEREZ: The temporary migrant shelter inside the Long Beach Convention Center includes a full sized medical clinic where UCLA doctors will screen unaccompanied children for COVID and life-threatening and communicable conditions. Within two days, they'll have a full physical.
- We're going to go this way.
LAURIE PEREZ: City leaders got their first glimpse today of how and where the children will spend their days. Gathering areas and classrooms are set up for three hours of daily instruction. There's a massive rec room with soccer nets, games, and books, and pods of 30 cots, some with blankets and stuffed animals stand ready.
MAYOR ROBERT GARCIA: I was very honest, I feel very emotional.
LAURIE PEREZ: An immigrant himself, Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia says this is a humanitarian mission.
MAYOR ROBERT GARCIA: When I came to the United States, I was five years old. Under very different circumstances, but still poor and still without a lot of support here in the United States. And so I feel for me, it's very personal that each child is welcomed.
LAURIE PEREZ: Long Beach hosts the shelter, but the US Department of Health and Human Services will fund it and any services provided. The plan is to unite kids with family or sponsors on average, within seven days. As many as 1,000 children could come through here-- girls up to 17 years old and boys under 12, all of whom arrived at the border without any adults.
REP. ALAN LOWENTHAL: What the city can do is to make sure that the children that are caught up in this broken system are treated humanely, that we provide them the services that they need.
LAURIE PEREZ: Church leaders were part of the tour group today, wanting to be assured about what's inside.
PASTOR GREGORY SANDERS: I had concerns coming, but after seeing the space, it's warm. It's welcoming, it's well designed. It's designed for them to actually thrive.
LAURIE PEREZ: Now city leaders say they have been flooded with questions about volunteering here. They've set up an online portal where people can go to sign up to volunteer or to make donations. A big book drive starts tomorrow. There's information on the city site about where you can drop off those books starting tomorrow morning. We are live in Long Beach. I'm Laurie Perez. Back to you.
- Thank you, Laurie. Students and--