Long Beach Reunifying Migrant Children
By Tyler Epps
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced back in April the city’s partnership with the Biden Administration to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children. Mayor Garcia tweeted “The mission of this humanitarian shelter is quick family reunification. We must treat every single child with compassion, kindness, and love.” The partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human services is a commitment to providing support as minors are acquainted with families or connected with a sponsor.
The Immigrant Defenders Law Center, a local non-profit and social justice law firm thanked Mayor Garcia and ensured getting the resources to the populations most affected. “ImmDef will ensure every child that enters the LB EIS will know their rights & have access to pro bono legal rep while being processed for family reunification.”
While the shelter mainly focuses on a particular population, the Migration Policy Institute reported that there was an increase of Haitian immigrants arriving in the U.S. The contributing factors to the increase of Haitian Immigrants include natural disasters, in particular the 2010 earthquake which caused many to lose loved ones and homes. Most migrants come to the U.S. and are able to obtain permanent residence or have the ability to get a green card. Some have access to employment in service jobs, but a lower income to support themselves and their families. Many African migrants might not know that they have access to resources and support provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and can be set up with a coordinator for assistance which can be found at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/resource/orr-funded-programs-key-contacts.
The Long Beach Emergency Intake Site, in an effort to create a well-equipped space is providing migrants access to clean sleeping areas, entertainment activities and medical services. In addition, all children are tested for COVID -19 before being placed at the site.
Many eager community members of Long Beach were motivated to provide a warm welcome and wanted to gather resources to support the effort. Initiatives include the Long Beach Book Drive, a city collaboration with the Long Beach Convention Center and Visitors Bureau offering a range of locations for people to donate books and toys. For locations see http
Additionally, the Long Beach Community Foundation is accepting donations that will go towards providing entertainment items and gift cards to assist with the transition. Learn how to to donate at https://longbeachcf.org/donate/migrant-children-support-fund/ or call (562) 435-9033.
For community members interested in providing a more personal touch, The CIty of Long Beach is also offering volunteer opportunities to reassure a human interaction. Volunteer information can be found at https://longbeach.gov/pages/city-news/lb-humanitarian-family-reunification-efforts/
For additional questions about the effort visit the city website: https://www.longbeach.gov/contentassets/4b8927cd31004797b31ea8f5958cb9a4/long-beach-humanitarian-family-reunification-efforts-faq