Pomona Fairplex Emergency Intake Site in Pomona, California, to receive 250 migrant children

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Unaccompanied migrant children are loaded onto a DHS bus on April 6, 2021, after being apprehended in La Joya, Texas, a mile north of the Rio Grande. They will be put into the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Border Report photo/Sandra Sanchez)

As part of the Biden Administration’s work to move unaccompanied children out of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities as quickly as possible, the Pomona Fairplex Emergency Intake Site (EIS) in Pomona, California, will receive the first unaccompanied children today, approximately 250 children.

The children will be welcomed by staff, receive a medical check, and be provided needed clothing, toiletries, food and snacks, as well as a safe place to rest.

The Pomona Fairplex EIS will provide shelter for boys and girls from 2-17 years of age and has a potential capacity of 2,500 beds.

While HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has worked to build up its licensed bed capacity to care for unaccompanied children, additional capacity is urgently needed to manage the increasing numbers of unaccompanied children referrals from CBP.

HHS is aggressively working with its interagency partners to ensure that unaccompanied children are safe and unified with family members or other suitable sponsors as quickly and safely as possible.

To support this effort, HHS selected the Pomona Fairplex property to establish an EIS to provide ORR with needed capacity to accept children from CBP into its care where they can be safely processed, cared for, and either released to a sponsor or transferred to an appropriate ORR shelter for longer-term care. The EIS is intended for use as a temporary measure.

The Emergency Intake Site will initially provide potentially lifesaving services for unaccompanied children that are consistent with best practices/standards in emergency response in disasters or other humanitarian situations, clean and comfortable sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, and access to medical services.

A COVID-19 health screening protocol for all children will be implemented to follow CDC guidelines for preventing and controlling communicable diseases.

Services will be provided by a combination of contractors, and federal staff, including teams from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. 

HHS will utilize all available options to safely care for the children. These options include both short-term and long-term solutions. In the short-term, HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is working to ensure children don’t spend more time in border patrol facilities than necessary by: 1) safely increasing capacity in its permanent/licensed network by implementing enhanced CDC COVID-19 mitigation strategies; 2) safely reducing the time it takes to unify unaccompanied children with sponsors; 3) using Influx Care Facilities with the same standards of care used in its permanent/licensed network; and 4) establishing Emergency Intake Sites to decrease over-crowding in CBP facilities.

Simultaneously, ORR is committed to aggressively moving toward the long-term goal of acquiring enough state-licensed beds in our care provider network to reduce the need in the future for Influx Care Facilities or Emergency Intake Sites.

ORR operates a network of over 200 facilities/programs in 22 states and has a proven track record of accountability and transparency for program operations, as well as being a good neighbor in the communities where facilities are located.

HHS has recently taken steps to significantly increase in bed capacity, including:

  • On February 22, HHS opened the Carrizo Springs Influx Care Facility (ICF), Carrizo Springs, Texas, adding an additional 1,008 beds to our care-provider network.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 14, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children in Midland, Texas, with the potential capacity of 700 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 19, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) in Dallas, Texas, with the potential capacity of 2,300 beds.
  • With the assistance of the Department of Defense (DOD) on March 25, HHS announced it will open an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, near San Antonio, Texas with the potential capacity of up to 350 beds. 
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 27, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the San Diego Convention Center, with the initial potential capacity of 1,450 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 29, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Freeman Expo Center in San Antonio, Texas, with an internal potential capacity for 2,100 beds and an external capacity of 300 medical beds. 
  • With the assistance of the Department of Defense (DOD) on March 30, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, with the potential capacity of up to 5,000 beds. 
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 1, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the National Association of Christian Churches (NACC Houston) site in Houston, Texas, with the potential capacity of 500 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 5, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children, Dimmit, in Carrizo Springs, Texas, with the potential capacity of 440 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 5, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Target Lodge Pecos North property in Pecos, Texas, with the potential capacity of 2,000 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 6, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children, Delphi, in Donna, Texas, with the potential capacity of 1,500 beds.
  • On April 11, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Starr Commonwealth campus in Albion, Michigan, with the potential capacity of 240 beds.
  • On April 13, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Pennsylvania International Academy (PIA) in Erie, Pennsylvania, with the potential capacity of 418 beds.
  • As of April 17, the NACC Houston EIS no longer serves unaccompanied children.
  • On April 17, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)-Lackland near San Antonio, Texas, with the potential capacity of 372 beds.
  • On April 22, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California, with the potential capacity of 1,000 beds, including medical isolation.
  • As of April 23, the PIA EIS no longer serves unaccompanied children.

HHS will keep Congress, state, and local officials informed of future actions concerning unaccompanied children matters throughout our care-provider network.

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