LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to extend the city’s ban on private companies operating or constructing migrant detention centers or similar facilities for 10 months and 15 days.
Last month, the City Council endorsed the initial ban, which ends
March 20. The council voted 13-0 with no discussion on the extension.
The temporary ban also applies to so-called “shelters” for unaccompanied immigrant minors, like one proposed by the company VisionQuest in Arleta, a predominantly Latino community.
A large protest was held in front of proposed Arleta site — a vacant, two-story building that was formerly a senior living facility, on 9120 Woodman Avenue — on Jan. 6, as angered residents and activists loudly derided the project.
“This is enough,” said Trini Rodriguez, a founder of Tia Chucha’s cultural center in Sylmar, at the protest. “Not in our neighborhood.”
VisionQuest has repeatedly disputed claims that its project would be akin to the holding facilities at the Mexican border. The company said in a statement to City News Service that it “does not operate detention centers, nor do we have contracts to operate them.”
According to the company, the goal is to reunite immigrant children, who have crossed the border illegally and have been separated from their families, with their relatives or to have them cared for by a foster family within 90 days of arriving at the Arleta shelter.
VisionQuest obtained $25 million in contracts from the federal government last year to operate immigrant facilities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The company typically operates housing and services for youths who have been assigned to the company by a judge or foster services.
In City Council President Nury Martinez’s latest resolution, she contended that such a facility is not governed by the city’s code, and she stated that while the ban has been in place, city staff has been looking into the effects that such operations could have on local communities.
A proposal to permanently ban immigrant detention centers and similar facilities is also being developed for council consideration.
The extension of the ban includes the potential for another one-year extension.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in October that bans the establishment of private detention facilities from operating in the state.