Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is reaching out to non-profits to arrange housing for the many Central American children who’ve crossed into the U.S. over the last few months where they can wait to see if they’ll be allowed to stay in the country.
“It’s kind of a slap in the face to U.S. citizens.”
Garcetti’s meeting resistance though in the form of Los Angeles homeless advocates who point out that the city already has a homeless population of children and youth that nears 9,000, many of who can’t even stay in shelters because they aren’t 18.
The Mayor, a staunch advocate for immigration reform, had this to say today regarding what’s become an ever growing problem:
“Before you get partisan, before you tell me where you are on immigration, these are children. As a father, who are we as Americans if we do not step forward first?” Garcetti asked, noting, “I see this as not just a moral issue but as a practical one.”
“These kids who are isolated, alone. Maybe are doing the right thing, maybe have made mistakes. Forget all that first,” Garcetti said. “Let’s get them some place safe and secure. Let’s get them legal representation, which is what this country has always stood for.”
But Ted Hayes, a Los Angeles homeless advocate opposes the mayor’s plans to use non-profit resources to house children who have crossed into the U.S. illegally.
“It’s kind of a slap in the face to U.S. citizens,” Hayes said. “It’s embarrassing. It’s hurtful. Because it’s like a father saying that he loves children outside of the family more than he loves his own.”
“We feel for them,” Hayes continued. “We feel their pain. But we are feeling pain of our own children first.”
Los Angeles has a child and youth homeless population of nearly 9,000 and a total homeless population estimated at over 57,000. It is sometimes said by those who aren’t in favor of immigration reform that those that are care more about undocumented immigrants/illegal aliens than they do American citizens. If anything, Garcetti’s statements today will only further entrench that belief.