LONG BEACH, Calif.—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to shut down in August an emergency shelter set up at the Long Beach Convention Center to house children who crossed into the country illegally.
Temporary shelters were set up at various locations in California and other states for children who came across the U.S.–Mexico border. The children were taken to the shelters until they could be reunited with family or placed with sponsors.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said on Twitter that nearly 1,000 children who were housed at the Long Beach Convention Center have been reunited with relatives and sponsors in the United States, and officials are expected to close the intake center within two months.
Garcia said June 28 that “916 children from the Long Beach emergency intake shelter have now been reunited with relatives and sponsors in the United States.”
He added that there are currently 690 children at the shelter, which will be “closing in just over a month.”
An HHS official said during a court hearing about custody conditions for the children on June 29 that four of the shelters will be closing by August, including two in California. A center at the San Diego Convention Center is expected to close in mid-July.
Another shelter at the Pomona Fairplex is still operating. A total of 715 children, who illegally crossed the U.S.–Mexico border without a parent or guardian and were placed at the Fairplex, were reunified with families or other sponsors as of June 18, according to HHS.
The Pomona Fairplex site opened to unaccompanied children at the beginning of May. The site can hold as many as 2,500 children.
The Long Beach site opened a week prior to the Pomona location. It has the capacity to hold about 1,000 children.