More than 150 migrant children who were being housed at the Long Beach Convention Center’s temporary shelter have been united with family members or sponsors this week alone.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the shelter, released data on Friday, May 21, showing that 400 kids who were housed at the facility at some point are now living with family members or sponsors. That number is an increase from 222 on Monday.
The total number of kids who are currently at the shelter, meanwhile, has fallen.
There were 353 kids there on Friday, down from 535 on Monday, though a spokesman for the site said 23 more were expected to arrive in the next day or two.
The number of kids who have tested positive for the coronavirus also appears to be on the decline. Last week, officials reported there were more than 50 cases at the shelter. By Monday, though, that number had dropped to 12, and on Friday, there were only five.
The facility has the capacity to house up to 1,000 children and is set to cease operations by Aug. 2.
The Long Beach Convention Center was tapped by federal officials earlier this year to be used as a temporary migrant shelter, along with several other facilities across the country, mostly in California and Texas, as an influx of children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America — have made their way to the border without a parent.
In March, border authorities encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minors — a 100% increase from February and an all-time monthly high. But last month, that number fell to 17,171, indicating that the surge may be ebbing. The numbers for March and April, though, are still far higher than any other month on record.
Mayor Robert Garcia, on Friday, said he was pleased with the progress federal officials have made at the Long Beach site.
“I’m so grateful that so many children are now with their families,” he said on Twitter. “Let’s get every kid into a home.”
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