Pomona Fairplex to welcome about 2,500 migrant children in days

Many children seeking asylum have been held in crowded Border Patrol facilities beyond the 72-hour legal limit. As part of federal government's efforts to reduce that time and overcrowding, it has partnered with municipalities to open emergency Health and

Video Transcript

- Ponoma Fairplex has served many needs during the pandemic, from testing to vaccination. And now it will also be used as a temporary emergency intake center for more than 2,000 unaccompanied children who arrived at the US-Mexico border to seek asylum. [INAUDIBLE] Anabel Muñoz has the details.

ANABEL MUÑOZ: Many children arriving at the US-Mexico border have been held in crowded border patrol facilities for longer than the 72 hour legal limit. Part of the federal government's effort to reduce that time frame is to transport children to Health and Human Services shelters, partnering with cities like San Diego, Long Beach, and now Pomona.

HILDA SOLIS: I can say I speak for the rest of the board that we are wholeheartedly behind this venture to help these children while we can.

ANABEL MUÑOZ: LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis says within a few days, the Pomona Fairplex will welcome about 2,500 children, most of them between the ages of 12 and 17.

HILDA SOLIS: These children are undertaking a dangerous and traumatic journey, all to get a chance at a new life. And that dream of a new life will start right here at Pomona Fairplex, where they will be welcomed.

ANABEL MUÑOZ: Solis stressed this is a temporary shelter. We're told the children should not remain there more than 35 days or so, and that most of them do have contact information of relatives in different parts of the country.

- Other times it's a close relative. But these people have to be vetted, and it takes time.

ANABEL MUNOZ: During that time the children will receive many health and educational services.

HILDA SOLIS: Our Department of Mental Health provides trauma-informed care in the language that they are also serving these children. So cultural competency and being able to have staff appropriately dealing with these children is of utmost importance.

ANABEL MUNOZ: HHS regional director Bonnie [? Preston ?] says they will be tested for COVID-19 before being transported to emergency facilities like this one and during their stay.

TIM SANDOVAL: We have an obligation as compassionate human beings to do everything we can to get these children home to their loved ones--