Fresno councilmembers offer convention center to house migrant children


FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Several Fresno councilmembers have sent a letter to the federal government to offer the Fresno Convention Center for migrant children coming across the U.S. Mexico border.

The proposal comes as U.S. border patrol facilities see a surge in unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S. Mexico border, leading to overcrowding.

“A lot of children coming across the border,” said Council Vice President Nelson Esparza who was the lead in sending the letter. “Thousands of children coming across the border. Breaks my heart. Children of all ages. Children that are my daughters age.”

Esparza and Fresno Councilmember Esmerelda Soria and Miguel Arias sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services offering up the empty convention center.

Those children would stay in the facility while the federal government finds sponsors or reunites them with family.

“It is a humanitarian crisis,” said Esparza. “So, taking a look around at what we can do as local leaders. This is one small way, one small way we can put our foot forward.”

The letter did not offer specifics like how much it would cost but Esparza believes the federal government would pick up the price tag.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld called the idea misguided and claimed the city doesn’t have the resources.

“It does come down to resources,” he said. “It is not going to solve anything. It is going to continue to create a problem. We have to solve a problem and that is closing off the border. Having an open border is creating all of this chaos.

Esparza’s proposal is very similar to the Long Beach’s Convention Center proposal that was approved to house up to 1000 children.

On Thursday around 150 migrant children arrived at that facility.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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