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Congressman Tony Cardenas

Representing the 29th District of California

Cárdenas Sends Letter to DHS, HHS Opposing the Opening of a Youth-Migrant Detention Facility in Arleta

Jan 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing his opposition to the proposed detention site in Arleta, California, and requesting information on the facility.

“I oppose having any detention center in my district,” said Congressman Cárdenas in the letter. “We have seen the harmful and traumatizing effects caused by the cruel and unsafe conditions at detention facilities, and I will continue fighting against the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies.”

The text of the letter is copied below, and the full letter can be found here.

 

January 6, 2020

 

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf and Secretary Azar:

I write to express my concerns to the recent reports that the for-profit organization VisionQuest proposes to open a youth-migrant detention center in my district at 9120 Woodman Avenue, Arleta, California 91331.

I was troubled upon learning of such news and I stand opposed to opening up a detention center in my district. In response to concerns raised about the conditions for detainees held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a study which revealed that detention centers are unable to meet the mental health needs of children experiencing significant trauma. The numerous problems identified at the detention sites further demonstrate that such sites should not be operated anywhere in America.

We have seen the harmful and traumatizing effects caused by the cruel and unsafe conditions at detention facilities and I will continue fighting against the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies. As Congressmember for this district, I will continue to speak out against such a holding facility opening in my backyard that would put more children in cruel and unsafe conditions.

At this moment little to no information has been provided to the community on this matter. This is unacceptable. This is a time-sensitive matter, and the community deserves to be provided with answers regarding this potential proposal immediately.

I request prompt answers to the following questions:

  1. Is there a designated official responsible for overseeing DHS contracts for detention facilities?
  2. Does VisionQuest have a contract on hand? Is there such a contract for this specific site?
  3. Has an organization been provided funding for this proposed detention center site or other in California? If so, please provide information on the details of such contract(s) and funding.
  4. Has any funding been granted to VisionQuest or another organization for either a youth-migrant detention center or an adult detention center?
  5. Is the funding provided by Health and Human Services or the Department of Homeland Security?
  6. Is the funding acquired by VisionQuest specified for the site located at 9120 Woodman Avenue, Arleta, CA 91331?
  7. Is the funding allocated for contracts tentative pending an acquired location?

I respectfully request a prompt response to the above concerns, no later than 30 days after receipt of this letter. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

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