California city No to child illegal alien shelter
Published on 07-23-2014 02:59 PM Number of Views: 19
City affirms vote to deny migrant shelter
ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to affirm its denial of a proposed 96-bed shelter for migrant children who have come into the country illegally despite the pleas from dozens of people to approve the project.
The Planning Commission rejected a request last month by Southwest Key Properties, a contractor for the federal government, to open the shelter at the site of a former nursing home on Avenida del Diablo. The shelter would temporarily house the migrant children.
By Edward SifuentesJuly 22, 2014 media.utsandiego(.)com
Last month, hundreds of people attended the meeting, most of them opposing the shelter. But Tuesday's crowd was made up predominantly of Latino residents and supporters of the shelter.
More than 50 people spoke in favor and about 15 against it.
"I strongly believe that a strong nation is guided by its principles, especially towards children," said Escondido resident John Valdez.
The Planning Commission voted 6-0 with one commissioner absent against the proposal without much comment.
After the vote, many in the audience shouted, "Shame! Shame on you!"
The applicant has 10 days to appeal the decision to the City Council. Earlier in the day, representatives from Southwest Key declined to say whether they would appeal.
Over 200 people were inside the City Council chambers with many more standing outside the building.
One of the residents who spoke against the shelter said the location in a residential neighborhood was not appropriate.
"It's not our problem to have it next to our home," said Meghan Quade who lives near the facility.
Most of the children are traveling alone from Central America where gang violence and poverty has sent tens of thousands of them fleeing their homes in recent months.
Under federal law, these children are held in shelters while authorities look for their families and decide whether to grant them asylum or deport them.
Earlier in the day, representatives for several other religious and immigrant rights groups attended a news conference asking the commission to reconsider its decision.
"We have a legal and a moral duty to treat those children with compassion and dignity as our government and our legal system provides them with a due process, under the law, to determine whether they have a right to remain in the United States," said David Loy, legal director for the San Diego branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
A few opponents of the shelter who were at the event spoke against the proposal saying the government was already spending too much money on illegal immigrants.
"It's not about race, it's about throwing money down a hole," said Rigo Avelar, a San Marcos resident.
Prior to the meeting, over 100 people participated in a march from the Escondido swap meet to City Hall in support of the shelter. Many of them carried signs that read "Protect the Children" and "Compassion is an American Value."
Organizers of the march said the shelter would not only provide safe housing for the children it would also provide over 150 well-paying jobs and boost the city's economy. http://www.alipac.us/california-city-no-child-illegal-alien-shelter-3230/