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PRESS RELEASE: Long Beach Leaders Express Support for Migrant Children Relief Efforts

Release Date: 2021-04-06






April 6, 2021

Contact: James Ahumada, James.Ahumada@longbeach.gov, 562.208.0066

 LONG BEACH LEADERS EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR
MIGRANT CHILDREN RELIEF EFFORTS

Long Beach, CA – Tonight, the Long Beach City Council will be considering an item to authorize City staff to facilitate an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency to establish an emergency intake site for unaccompanied migrant children at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Once operational, the shelter will provide the children with three meals a day, medical and health evaluations, recreational opportunities, and educational services. The shelter will be used as temporary housing while the children are reconnected with a family member or sponsor in the United States.

Many community members have expressed their support for this effort. Here are a few excerpts from statements provided by these supportive leaders.

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“California State University Long Beach looks forward to helping our City create a secure and enriching environment for these children.  We have the people and expertise to share to make a difference.”

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.  
President
Cal State Long Beach  

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“Long Beach City College believes that everyone has the right to an education and the opportunity to better their lives. LBCC is fully committed to assisting our Long Beach College Promise partner, the City of Long Beach, in this human rights effort.”  

Dr. Mike Muñoz 
Interim Superintendent-President 
Long Beach Community College District   

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“The Long Beach Unified School District and the City of Long Beach have a well-established history of working together in service to children. We will be collaborating to do what we can in the days ahead as we learn more details.”  

Jill Baker, Ed. D. 
Superintendent of Schools 
LBUSD

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“My family fled Cambodia to seek a better life, not knowing whether we were going to make it. Violence and poverty had forced many parents to sacrifice their loved ones, giving up their children so that he or she can have a better future if they were able to make it through. Some of these migrant children who have fled their countries today were under these exact same circumstances.

“America has always been known to be a compassionate, kind, and forgiving country in times of need and the City of Long Beach is no different. I would conceive my conscience if I don’t call in to share my thoughts on this issue. Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor, and Council members, I trust in your extraordinary leadership to follow your moral obligation and provide temporary housing to these migrant children at the convention center.”

Charles Song
Community Leader and Community Organizer

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“This is not a call for open borders. This is not saying that immigration isn’t complicated. This is a call for a humane and fair system for moving children asylum seekers and refugees through the system as required by law. We call on our city and state leaders to reject fear-based policy-making that targets children who are simply seeking safety, and a chance to live, learn, grow and thrive in peace. The situation at the border is, by all accounts, a crisis. Refugees come in desperation; border personnel are under stress.”

Jessica Quintana
Executive Director
Centro Cha, Long Beach

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"After praying so long for humane, compassionate treatment of the children at our borders, we’re now being invited to move into action.  We’re so encouraged by our city’s desire to be part of the solution, and we’re eager to support those efforts however we can.  As someone wise once said, 'Let the little children come.'”   

Brenna Rubio & Bill White
Co-pastors, City Church of Long Beach  

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“I agree with President Biden that ‘We all must respect and value the integrity of families seeking to enter the United States’ and it was a human tragedy that occurred when our immigration laws were used to intentionally separate children from their parents or guardians.  These families need to be reunited as soon as possible and Long Beach has the capacity to help make that happen.  

“I was born and raised in Long Beach and I am so very proud that this City is stepping up to help facilitate the reunification of these innocent children with their families.  It is the right thing to do and I am 100% behind it.”  

Mary Ellen Mitchell 
Executive Director
WomenShelter of Long Beach 

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“The Salvation Army supports this humanitarian effort. We exist to serve suffering humanity without discrimination. For 115 years The Salvation Army in Long Beach has been serving people in physical, emotional, and spiritual crisis. We are available to partner with the City of Long Beach and other organizations to make sure children and families that find themselves in this unfortunate circumstance are cared for in this time of great need.”  

Lt. Colonel John Chamness
Divisional Commander
The Salvation Army California South Division  

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“Interval House, an award-winning domestic violence and housing/homelessness program representing the City of Long Beach for over 40 years, is thrilled to not only support but also to assist 100% in making sure that the reunification site in Long Beach is tremendously successful. For our staff, our graduates, our clients, our Board of Directors, and our supporters in the community, this is going to be an exhilarating experience. We can’t wait to help.”

Carol Williams 
Executive Director 
Interval House

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"As President of the Long Beach Branch NAACP and on behalf of our executive committee, we support what the City of Long Beach is doing regarding housing and reconnecting children with their families during this humanitarian crisis. As a humanitarian, I personally believe it is important that we all get involved with reuniting families."  

Naomi Rainey-Pierson Erdmann 
President
Long Beach Branch NAACP

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“Food Finders is here to support anyone in need of food. We would be happy to support these migrant children if our services are needed.” 

Diana Lara
Executive Director
Food Finders Inc.

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"The Mayor's Fund for Education works with local partners to address the most pressing needs of children, students, and their families - any child; any family.  As such, we support Long Beach rising to the challenge to help meet the needs of migrant children awaiting reunification. We look forward to partnering with Mayor Garcia, City Council, City staff, and community organizations to help build resilience through compassion and strategic alignment."

Karissa Selvester
Executive Director
Mayor's Fund for Education*
 

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*The quotation from the Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund for Education was included after the initial press release was sent out.