Migrant Kids

LA City Council Passes Ordinance to Block Fed-Funded Lock-Up for Immigrant Children

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council passed a temporary ordinance that it appears will act to successfully block the opening of a federally-funded detention center to hold migrant children who have been separated from their parents.

The proposed lock-up for immigrant kids was to be located at a now-vacant former nursing home located in Arleta, CA, north of Sherman Oaks, near to the intersection of Nordoff St. and Woodman Ave.

The motion, introduced by City Council President Nury Martinez, was the councilwoman’s second on the topic.  Martinez opposed the child detention project early and introduced her first motion in November, asking the city staff for a thorough review of how Los Angeles might legally block the project, and what additional approvals might be needed to do so.

Her second motion was the one approved and implemented on Tuesday.

“As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, I am completely and strongly opposed to any prisons for immigrant children in our city run by so-called ‘discipline therapy’ experts – especially in a community like Arleta – a predominantly Latino community,” said Martinez in an emailed statement.

“It is a slap in the face in all ways imaginable to immigrant children who need love, kindness, and understanding. They do not need to be further traumatized by President Trump and a federal government that separated thousands of children from their parents, and then lied about it.”

The proposed youth detention facility was to be overseen by a firm called VisionQuest, which has been mired in controversy for decades due to a disturbing number of youth deaths and credible accusations of physical and emotional abuse starting in the 1980s and 1990s when the company was making millions running programs for at-risk and lawbreaking adolescents.

In 1994, for example, a report by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, described staff frequently “punching and hitting juveniles in the face,” along with the “frequent use of headlocks headbuts [sic], and choking restraints,” in one case rendering a boy unconscious “causing him to urinate on himself and to spit blood.”

The emotional abuse that the DOJ report and other accounts described was equally alarming.

Furthermore, the accusations of abuse have continued in recent years.  In 2017, the city of Philadelphia closed down a group home for kids after state inspectors documented incidents of staff physically and emotionally abusing children in their care, calling them names, and promising to “make life a living hell” for them, according to inspectors.

Evidently ignoring the firm’s years of problems, in July 2019, the federal government handed VisionQuest “more than $25 million in four grants over three years to hold hundreds of the unaccompanied minors in its custody in California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

One of the planned California locations for VisionQuest was the Arleta site.

Prior to the big new 2019 grant, VisionQuest got some other large piles of federal cash from the feds, such as an $8.5 million grant in 2018 to run a secure facility for migrant children in Philadelphia.

The company’s representatives claimed that they had solved all their problems after the Philly youth shelter was closed in 2017.  Yet, after a long hard look at VisionQuest’s overall record, Philadelphia didn’t buy the sales pitch and turned the Arizona-based company down.

In November, San Antonio, TX, also shut down the company’s bid to open a for-profit detention center for migrant boys between the ages of 11 to 17 years old.

Last summer, the state of New Mexico was similarly rejecting of the company’s plans for another facility to hold migrant kids, this one to be located in Albuquerque.  The project was thrown into doubt, according to the Albuquerque Journal, after the for-profit operator was accused of having “purposefully withheld details about violations at one of its other facilities.”

(For more on VisionQuest and its plans to make big bucks from regional lock-ups for migrant kids, see WitnessLA’s earlier story.)

As mentioned earlier,  the ordinance that was approved Tuesday is temporary. It will initially be active for 45 days from its date of adoption on February 4. But the city council has the power to extend the ordinance for a period of 10 months and 15 days, after which time it is subject to a second extension of an additional year.

This means that, in total, the new rules “prohibiting the construction or operation of private detention centers and community detention facilities for unaccompanied minors in the City of Los Angeles” may be extended for two years, by which time one presumes VisionQuest will have packed its corporate bags and gone elsewhere.

It is unlikely that the city will need the two years, however, as the council is expected to have a permanent ordinance ready for passage in two to three months, at which time there is little doubt that it will be approved.

“The City of Los Angeles will not help VisionQuest, or any other private business, profit off of the anguish and misery of children,”  said City Council President Martinez.

We believe her.


Photo at top of Council President Nury Martinez courtesy of the councilwoman’s office.

13 Comments

  • Celeste, I know it’s become fashionable in liberal circles to omit the VILE “I” word in front of “immigrant,” but for accuracy, I think you should clarify that the children are here illegally.

    Of COURSE they should be treated humanely, but they should NOT be given an automatic pass into the United States. It may seem hard-hearted, but the US can’t continue to absorb millions of desperate people from around the world. When was the last time you were in traffic and thought, “Gee, I wish there were more cars,” or at the DMV and thought, “Man…I have so much time, I wish these lines were longer,” OR saw a headline that read, “All Citizens Finally Able to Attend College and Receive Free Medical Care.” Even MEXICO has closed off THEIR southern border to “migrants” from Guatemala.

    Shocking that the Latina president of the City Council is against this facility. The Reconquista is complete (aided by white liberals living ANYWHERE but in Latino neighborhoods).

    I’m a Democrat and can’t stand the orange orangutan in the Oval Office, but even a broken clock is right twice a day and he’s right on this issue.

    • About ten years ago or so, in response to White Noise from illegal immigrant activists, A.P. (the Associated Press) removed the term “Illegal Immigrant” from its stylebook, and the rest of the MSM followed along with the intent of brainwashing the public into thinking that there is no difference between “legal” and “illegal” immigrant.

      Full particulars on A.P.’s action can be Googled: “A.P. removes ‘Illegal immigrant’ from stylebook.”

    • @ LASD Apostle:
      You’re a Democrat and you can’t stand Trump?
      I can’t help but laugh at your attempt to blend in with Angelino’s who actually are Democrats and can’t stand Trump, LMAO!

  • The newly appointed City Council President, Ms. Nury Martinez, is in opposition to “block the opening of a federally-funded detention center to hold migrant children who have been separated from their parents.”

    First of all, law enforcement will “separate” children from their parents when the parents have committed a crime. The children are then placed in the care of DCFS. This has been a long standing procedure for obvious reasons.

    Secondly, contrary to popular belief, which is being perpetuated by the MSM and some bleeding heart liberals, the children are not being “separated” as a form of punishment. The children are “separated” to protect them from any potential harm and or exposure to possible nefarious situations.

    Ms. Martinez stated, “It is a slap in the face in all ways imaginable to immigrant children who need love, kindness, and understanding. They do not need to be further traumatized by President Trump and a federal government that separated thousands of children from their parents, and then lied about it.” Did she forget that her previous POTUS, separated more children and deported more ILLEGAL aliens than the current POTUS? Further, that the previous POTUS had given instructions to his DHS Secretary to construct the “cages” to house these ILLEGAL children? Furthermore, that the ILLEGAL children sleeping on the floors was also part of the previous POTUS?

    I think that Ms.. Martinez suffers from CRS (Can’t Remember Sh*t), when it comes to the aforementioned conditions. Nonetheless, she jumps on the Trump hate bandwagon and is quick to point a finger at the bad white man.

    In addition, her statement, ” immigrant children who need love…” is a statement made to play on people’s emotions (straight from the Saul Alinski playbook) and a favorite ploy / tactic which is used by the Left. With an approximate 3.25M Latino households with a single parent (mother), I wonder how much “love” they will get? Furthermore, with an estimated 45% of Latinos in gangs, how much love can these poor ILLEGAL alien children get?

    Ms. Martinez, what about utilizing some of the taxpayer money to improve the infrastructure in the S.F. Valley? What about utilizing taxpayer money to increase the police presence in some of those sh*t hole areas of the S.F. Valley (i.e., Arleta, Pacoima). What about utilizing some of the taxpayer’s money to assist some of those homeless people off of the streets? I presume the aforementioned suggestions which would assist the taxpayers of your area, are not important and or a priority? Yet, using Calif. resident’s taxes to fund a housing facility for ILLEGAL alien children is more important?

    This is why the American citizen of the United States, elected that so called bad white / orange man to be the POTUS. The American citizen has had enough of the impractical, nonsensical, frivolous agenda(s) that you espouse.

    • I’m trying to follow your argument, but you lost me on the “45% of Latinos in gangs.” You may want to check that figure and verify the source and accuracy.

  • This “proud daughter of Mexican immigrants” better be carful she doesn’t get too zealous, or conspire to resist the feds beyond “legally blocking” them. A FBI sting followed up with a short trial in Judge Percy’s court, and the next thing she knows ol’ Nury could find herself in a jail cell next to Baca and Tanaka.

  • LASD Apsotle, I can’t agree with you more. We have way too many people and the borders should have been closed after all of the great European immigrants made it into this country. The same bitching we hear today, is the same bitching lice infested, starving Irish immigrants heard back then. The difference is that their skin color got them a pass after one generation. And, you are idiot if you tell time with the broken clock. And, an even bigger idiot if you expect people to believe you are a Democrat. Finally, I do look at parts of this country, mainly the backwoods of the South and the hill country and think to myself, why can’t we get more people that actually want to be here, especially those that want it so badly that they will ride on top of train for a few thousand mile to get here, to help out the my trailer dwelling, opiate addicted, brethren on disability in those towns.

    Cognistator, thank you for the lesson. Always quick to use Google University support your claims.

    Fat Rolman, Ms. Martinez is not in “opposition” to blocking a federally-funded detention center, as you say. She is in favor of blocking it. Your Berkeley English skills are almost as bad as my mine, and mine are by way of ESL. And, please tell me that comment about “45% of Latinos in gangs” was a typo. The only people I hear pull shit of out their ass like that are rabid racist, Trump supporters. You are entitled to your opinions, but not your facts. You will lose all credibility with statements like that, as no one who knows anything about gangs, or claims to know, makes such claims. I do believe that you believe that one of every two Latinos you encounter is a gang member. No doubt you find them scary. Finally, my portly friend, the American people did not vote Trump in, the electoral college got him in office. You may not have heard, but he lost the popular vote. He may win in 2020, but I suspect he will lose the popular vote once again. Your ilk is making a last stand, as Custer did, but this to shall pass, as it did for Custer. Welcome to the future.

    • @cf….once again, you have managed to meander your way back onto this platform, to spew your racist, ignorant, denigrating, grammatically incorrect statements.

      During my “post” I inadvertently typed “opposition.” Simple honest mistake. Further, my English is not by way of Berkeley. I never really cared for these liberal institutions (i.e., Berkeley) who do not educate, but rather indoctrinate. I rather enjoyed my community college and Cal State college days.

      As far as the stat on Latino gangs, if you were to have carefully read my post, I stated,”an estimated..” , not an actual percentage amount. However, I can understand if you missed that due to your ESL curriculum.

      As far as not anything about gangs, you are wrong @cf. I grew up around gangs and dealt with gang members. As far as being scared of gang members, I am not scared of them, because just like you, they are a bunch of pu**ies.

      I hate to burst your bubble, but I am not portly as you so discriminatingly make reference to. However, I would presume, are a fat POS because people like you, project your faults onto other people.

      You are right, the Electoral College did elect Trump. The Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. established the Electoral College for a specific reason. If you are so inclined and your ESL skills will assist you in reading the process of the Electoral College, you may understand why it was established.

      Regarding your ignorant statement, ” rabid racist, Trump supporters”, I believe the rabid, racist person is yourself. Once again, projecting your inadequacies onto others.

  • Madame Kong – Go ahead and make your case for Nazism, a white Nation, and racial superiority. The Constitution may give you a voice, but it doesn’t guarantee you a receptive audience ( except on infowars & Sean Hannity ). Your right to free speech does not automatically mean that people will agree with you. In fact, you have a God given and inalienable right to be on the losing end of this argument.

    Make sure you wash your own dishes the next time you go to a restaurant- And mow your own lawn.

  • Looks like LASD Apostle is surely becoming exposed as an imposter or just a confused individual borrowing different hats. I think the term is known as “Catfishing”.

    Funny how anyone can be “whomever” on the internet when there is no fact check.

    I’ll let LASD Apostle be the Democratic Immigrant Latino who dislikes Trump but also has an issue with Sheriff Villanueva. Apostle will be called out on his B.S. each and every time.

    Yes, you CAN make this up.

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