Posted on August 14, 2019

D.C. Mayor Says She Will Not Accept Federal Shelter for Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, August 13, 2019

D.C. officials and immigration advocates on Tuesday criticized plans by the federal government to house unaccompanied migrant children in Washington.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said the city has “no intention” of accepting such a facility, echoing opposition from elected officials in Northern Virginia, who are protesting a proposal by the Trump administration to build a permanent shelter there for unaccompanied minors.

Bowser was reacting to an application from Dynamic Service Solutions, a federal contractor, to open a temporary shelter for children in the District. The company has been advertising job listings for educators, caseworkers and medical staff members to work with “unaccompanied alien” children in the nation’s capital.


The proposed facility would house as many as 242 children, according to a person familiar with the contractor’s application to the city. {snip}


“Washington, D.C. will not be complicit in the inhumane practice of detaining migrant children in warehouses,” Bowser said in a statement. “We have no intention of accepting a new federal facility, least of all one that detains and dehumanizes migrant children.”


Advocates are pressing city officials to do whatever they can to stop the shelter.

“So many of us in the Latino community are opposed to this happening anywhere in the United States, but certainly not when it’s in our backyard,” said Maria Gomez, president and chief executive of Mary’s Center, a community health center with multiple locations.

District officials recently closed a megashelter for homeless families at the former D.C. General hospital campus, arguing that children should not be housed in crowded institutions.


The Bowser administration has made millions available for local nonprofits providing legal services to immigrants, but that funding is not available for adult immigrants once they are detained.