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Long Beach Shelter For Migrant Children Closes After Reuniting 1,500 Children With Family Members, Sponsors

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Three months after opening its doors to migrant children waiting to be reunited with family members or sponsors, the Long Beach Convention Center's temporary shelter is closing.

"I'm incredibly proud of our city for stepping up and welcoming these kids," Mayor Robert Garcia said in an emailed statement. "This humanitarian mission has always been about ensuring the safe reunification of families and we are so grateful for the opportunity to help."

In total, the shelter reunited 1,538 children — mostly girls ages five an older — with family members living in the U.S. or other qualified sponsors. The children were held at the facility were held for 19 days on average and were able to partake in recreational and school activities while there.

Garcia called the shelter's reunification efforts "an incredible accomplishment," in a Twitter thread.

Garcia also called on Congress to take action on "immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented adults and children in our country."

The Long Beach facility, which opened April 22, was one of several emergency shelters set up around the country in response to an influx of children crossing the southern border. The Long Beach Convention Center, which was closed to public events due to the pandemic, was made available by the city for the effort.

"Since its opening, the Long Beach Emergency Intake Shelter has been an example of the care we can provide when staff, volunteers, local leaders and neighboring communities come together to support a temporary shelter," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. "I want to extend my gratitude to the staff, the volunteers and all the members of the community who contributed to creating a safe place for unaccompanied children."

The city's contract with the federal government for the shelter is set to expire Aug. 2.

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