SAN DIEGO — A younger group of migrant children and their siblings arrived Friday in San Diego for the temporary emergency shelter at the San Diego Convention Center.
A transfer of 300 children to Fort Bliss in Texas on Thursday freed up space at the convention center for the new group of unaccompanied minors. Children ages 5-12 and their older siblings, who are already in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, started arriving late Friday morning.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s office said more staff will be needed to supervise the children seeking asylum. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will adjust staffing through existing contracts and an increase in federal staff on site. There will also be adjustments to the contracted services for education, mental health and food/nutritional services, Gloria’s office said.
The migrant shelter at the convention center launched on March 27 with a focus on girls between 13-17 years old. As of the end of the day Friday, the population there was 1,357, according to HHS.
Work to transfer girls staying at the convention center to Texas will continue with hopes of reuniting them with family or sponsors as soon as possible, Gloria’s office said.
Gloria, County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and Vice Chair Nora Vargas released a joint statement Friday morning:
“San Diego was chosen as the best place for the most vulnerable younger children because of the high standards of care that our local service providers like South Bay Community Services and Rady Children’s Hospital have set. We are incredibly proud of the work they have done in such a short period of time. Regardless of the ages of the children arriving, San Diego will give them the compassionate support they need as they await the day they’re connected with the family members or guardians who will care for them here in the United States.”
The convention center will provide migrant children with case management, medical and behavioral health care, educational and recreational activities, nutritious meals, hygiene, and legal assistance until July 15.