CA Latino Legislative Caucus Tour Detention Facilities for Undocumented Unaccompanied Minors

July 08, 2014

Ventura, CA — Members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus today toured Naval Base Ventura County and the El Centro Immigration Processing Center, where many of the thousands of unaccompanied minors across the country are being warehoused and processed. 

Senate President pro Tem-elect Kevin de León; Senator Ricardo Lara, Caucus Chair; Senator Norma Torres; Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins; Assembly Member Luis Alejo, Vice Chair; Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez; and Senator Lou Correa visited the Naval Base Ventura County.  Separately, Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez visited the El Centro Immigration Processing Center. 

"The recent proliferation of detainers and deportations, especially among unaccompanied minors, under the Federal Government’s current immigration enforcement strategy, has been heartbreaking,” said Latino Caucus Chair, Senator Ricardo Lara. "At such an uncertain and frightening time, these youth deserve, at the very least, benevolent care within the facility with which they are being detained. The Latino Caucus, on behalf of the constituents we represent, has asked for the humane treatment of detained immigrant children.”

These children are being warehoused in locations all across the Country, where they await immigration hearings.

“Today we were very satisfied to see that these children are being treated in a humane way,” said Senate pro Tem-elect Kevin DeLeon. “They look healthy and well balanced; it was clearly demonstrated that the community has come together to help these children. It was a complete opposite reaction of the shameful display we saw last week at Murrieta.”

“This is still a humanitarian crisis,” said Lara. “The Naval Base Ventura County is a temporary shelter, these children are there for no more than two weeks and are in the process of getting connected with family members in the US. This is not long-term solution and exactly why we need comprehensive immigration reform.”

“Everyday unaccompanied children and adolescents are seeking safe passage into the United States from Central American countries,” said Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez. “Some of these children are sent by their parents, others have travelled over with their mothers, and yet others are alone and trying to reunite with their parents in the United States. These detained children have lost everything; their homes, their friends, and most importantly, their parents. They deserve the basic respect we afford all human beings.” 

Senator Lara added. “Today, State Assembly Member V. Manuel Perez was in Calexico touring the El Centro Immigration Processing Center. As a Caucus we are committed to keeping the conversation around this issue relevant so that we can encourage comprehensive immigration reform.”  

“From my tour today of the El Centro facility, I am reassured to see that our local ICE facility is doing its utmost to respond to these children and families professionally and compassionately,” said Assembly member V. Manuel Pérez.  “I want to thank the residents of Coachella Valley and Imperial County who have been so supportive and generous to those detained by providing donations, supplies, and basic necessities to help provide some measure of comfort to them during this difficult time.”


Contact: Jesse Melgar / (916) 651-4033/