Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez Wednesday proposed an extension to the city’s 45-day ban on private companies operating or constructing immigrant detention centers or similar facilities in the city.
Earlier this month, the City Council endorsed the initial ban, which ends March 20. Martinez wants to extend the ban for another 10 months and 15 days.
The temporary ban also applies to so-called “shelters” for unaccompanied immigrant minors, like one proposed by the company VisionQuest in Arleta, a predominantly Latino community.
VisionQuest has repeatedly disputed claims that its project would be akin to the holding facilities at the Mexican border. The company said in a statement to City News Service that it “does not operate detention centers, nor do we have contracts to operate them.”
According to the company, the goal is to reunite immigrant children, who have crossed the border illegally and have been separated from their families, with their relatives or to have them cared for by a foster family within 90 days of arriving at the Arleta shelter.
VisionQuest obtained $25 million in contracts from the federal government last year to operate immigrant facilities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The company typically operates housing and services for youths who have been assigned to the company by a judge or foster services.
In Martinez’s latest resolution, she contends that such a facility is not governed by the city’s code, and she stated that while the ban is in place, city staff has been looking into the effects that such operations could have on local communities.
A proposal to permanently ban immigrant detention centers and similar facilities is also being developed for council consideration.
Martinez’s proposed extension of the ban includes the potential for another one-year extension.
Her proposal could be heard by the full council as early as next Tuesday.
On Jan. 6, a group of protesters and several local elected officials took part in a rally at the proposed VisionQuest site at 9120 Woodman Ave. The vacant, two-story building was formerly a senior living facility, according to Martinez.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in October that bans the establishment of private detention facilities from operating in the state.
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