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Escondido Planning Commission Rejects Shelter For Immigrant Children

People packed the Escondido City Council chambers at a hearing on whether to allow a shelter for unaccompanied immigrant youth to open in a former nursing home, June 24, 2014.

Aired 6/25/14 on KPBS News.

The Escondido Planning Commission voted 7-0 to turn down a federal government request to open a 96-bed shelter for unaccompanied immigrant youth in a former nursing home.

The Escondido Planning Commission voted unanimously against allowing a 96-bed shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children to open in a former nursing home. Commissioners cited concerns about insufficient parking for staff, and potential noise and safety impacts on neighbors, among others.

Some 500 people showed up for the hearing Tuesday night at the Escondido City Council chambers, packing the hallways and spilling out of the building.

The Planning Commission listened to comments from the public for nearly three hours — most of them in opposition to the proposed shelter — before voting 7-0 to reject the proposal. Some of the speakers had worries about potential noise, traffic and security risks. Others had bigger political concerns.

“By allowing this facility here in our hometown, we’re condoning what the federal government is doing that’s illegal,” said Karen Seibold, who lives near the proposed shelter site. “And that’s essentially leading these kids falsely to come to our shores and stay here.”

Seibold — and several others who spoke against the shelter — believes the unprecedented wave of Central American youth showing up alone at the U.S. border are attracted by false hopes of qualifying for an Obama administration program that offers relief from deportation for undocumented youth who grew up in the U.S.

A former nursing home that the federal government had hoped to turn into a 96-bed shelter for Central American children arriving at the border alone, June 24, 2014.

Only those who have lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007, qualify for the program.

Border authorities in the Southwest have apprehended more than 52,000 unaccompanied immigrant children since October — a nearly 100 percent increase over the previous year. Children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are responsible for most of the increase.

A U.N. report based on interviews with more than 400 unaccompanied migrant children from Central America found that more than half faced violence in their homes or communities.

The federal government is struggling to house immigrant children while they wait for their hearings in immigration court.

Some people at the Escondido hearing did speak in favor of letting the shelter open. Several of them were loudly booed.

Daniel Perez, an Escondido business owner and community activist, said he thought “ignorance, intolerance and fear” were driving opposition to the shelter. And he said he didn’t think enough information had been given to the public to make an informed decision.

“I can’t say that I’m in favor or against, but let’s find a solution together,” Perez said. “Right now we have a crisis in which a lot of kids are suffering,”

Anyone can appeal the Planning Commission’s decision. A representative of Southwest Key, the government contractor that would have run the shelter, declined to talk about the decision.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 25, 2014 at 7:32 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

why not pay mexico to take them in and care for them ?

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | June 25, 2014 at 7:47 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Mikey, we already send way too much money to Mexico and other countries. We need to build a real border and quit sending out all foreign aid. Throw these juvenile delinquents back over the river. Not our problem.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | June 25, 2014 at 8:22 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Mmikey, why would we pay Mexico to take care of their own problem?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 25, 2014 at 8:51 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I felt a flash of anger while reading Mmikeys post. Should we also pay Mexico to take maintain their postal service? How about pay for their sewage system infrastructure maintenance?

Taking these kids in, feeding them, sheltering them, what message does this send to the world? I would not want to live in China, but we could take a few lessons on prioritizing our national interests from them. Imagine how they would handle hundreds of thousands of immigrants sneaking into their country. They do not have an immigration problem because they do not make life for criminal immigrants easy.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 25, 2014 at 8:57 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations Escondido!

You are a noble and compassionate city!

Groups like Southwest Key prey upon vulnerable youth. They are responsible for this increase in illegal minors, their suffering, and all those who have been sold into slavery or die along the road to get here.

They should be investigated for fraud, waste, and abuse not to mention aiding and abetting in the commission of federal crimes.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 25, 2014 at 9:04 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Quote of the month, perhaps the year:

“By allowing this facility here in our hometown, we’re condoning what the federal government is doing that’s illegal,” said Karen Seibold

Karen Seibold should run for office!

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Avatar for user 'Warhawks1980'

Warhawks1980 | June 25, 2014 at 9:13 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I was at the hearing which was a huge overflow crowd. The article doesn't mention why the pro-facility speakers got loudly booed. Those speakers started to insult the City and prior anti-facility speakers with negative characterisms and veiled references to racism and ignorance. Those in attendance were orderly and polite and the meeting was well managed by the Planning Commission Chair. The biggest outburst of the evening was when Councilman & Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz (Pro-facility) escorted in a group of 20 Hispanic activists, that started out politely, but turned down a negative path of statements directed toward the majority of those in attendance. They then burst out into political/slogans and chants and had to be slowly escorted out chanting all the way out of the building. Obviously then the media had the cameras trained on them outside for the obligatory sound bites. They were orchestrated by and managed by Olga Diaz. It was brazen and counterproductive for whatever their goals are. They didn't win any friends last night.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 25, 2014 at 9:51 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Warhawks1980:
Those speakers started to insult the City and prior anti-facility speakers with negative characterisms and veiled references to racism and ignorance.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Did they make any person remarks against anyone or use profanity?

If all they did is suggest that the opposition is being fanned by ignorance and racism, I don't find that to be an inappropriate "insult"; I actually find it to be a reasonable conclusion to what is behind a lot of this based on what I've read.

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Avatar for user 'ronik145'

ronik145 | June 25, 2014 at 11:56 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Please read the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. After you do that, please consider that the inscription used to be the standard for this country. Next, consider how our country's attitude towards immigrants (a group to which we all belong on some level, except native Americans) has changed since France gifted us with the Statue of Liberty.

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Avatar for user 'Warhawks1980'

Warhawks1980 | June 25, 2014 at 12:14 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

No profanity was expressed by anyone at the meeting. When most of the speakers spoke from both sides of the issue they were either on point to the zoning/planning issue or made their comments regarding the US governments defacto immigration policies. A Hispanic speaker declared himself a proud former US Marine and started out discussing his points for the facility and then undermined everything when he got passionate and called Escondido the "arm pit" of America. The Activist group called the opposition ignorant and racist. That is an insult and is intended to silence good people that happened to be concerned citizens. 500 plus people took the time to show up and be heard. If you want civil discourse you don't go about it in that manner. We can agree to disagree about an issue, but using pejoratives to drive your point home will not get you what you want. I have my opinion as well about news coverage but that detracts from this response.

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Avatar for user 'Warhawks1980'

Warhawks1980 | June 25, 2014 at 12:24 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

FYI My parents legally immigrated from a communist country to America as well as my wife. I was born here and have served my country as a Captain in the US Army from 1983-1991. I have an affinity to immigrants, starting over, mastering the English language, their efforts to make it in America and the success many achieve within the first or second generation. All of it without the support of the US Government.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 25, 2014 at 12:36 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Warhawks1980, I will admit that I don't find Escondido to be anywhere I would want to spend any time or live, but I do agree that the person who called it an "armpit" should have refrained from doing so at an event where she was trying to sway people of that community to accept something.

I'm sure passion and frustration took over, and thus the insult came out.

I realize there is a lot of political tension regarding this issue, but these are children and I think don't see how using this building that's not in use now for this purpose would "bring down" the entire community.

These are fellow human beings who have fled terrible conditions and they are probably scared and confused right now. I think the people of Escondidio should have allowed this.

Hopefully they can find another community willing to take this on.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | June 25, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

PDSD "Hopefully they can find another community willing to take this on."
I agree, and I'd like to nominate Caracas, Mexico City and Bogota as the most appropriate communities to undertake this effort.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 25, 2014 at 1:48 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Warhawks1980,

Glad to have your eye-witness account which sheds a lot of light on this issue and the people behind it.

Ronik145,

There are intentionally no inscriptions on the Statue of Liberty. The New Colossus poem, which I assume you are referring to, is part of a collection of works in the museum.

All the immigrants who passed by the statue to Ellis Island were legal.
Lady Liberty is also prominently holding a legal tablet in her hand symbolizing the fair and equal rule of law.

If anything, illegal aliens are spitting on the statue and rejecting the symbolism, not honoring it.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | June 25, 2014 at 2:17 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

r145 “Please read the inscription on the Statue of Liberty”
I note that Lazarus ends the poem with “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" rather than “sneak in through the border (wink)”. There are a great many benefits to immigration but it must be done legally.
Also, we generally do not rely on poetry to dictate policy.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 25, 2014 at 2:52 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Standing room only??? In a hickkk town like Escond*ldo, the people are not necessarily politically savvy but acting on uniformed emotions. Look at Dumanis winning for DA because she is perceived as a lock 'em and throw away the key type. That is a sort of cathartic substitute for the people who act politically solely on emotion.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 25, 2014 at 2:53 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

WARHAWK1980, relevance???

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Avatar for user 'Karina_123'

Karina_123 | June 25, 2014 at 2:57 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It is ashamed that these individuals do not see the bigger picture. We all know that these immigrants youth come to the states with a search for a better future. But if they do not get the right direction and guidance they may follow on to the wrong path and become criminals. This shelter could have been a way to turn things around for these individuals and our community. I am ashamed of the people who think these youth are only trouble.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 25, 2014 at 3:11 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

CA OFFENDER says:
"All the immigrants who passed by the statue to Ellis Island were legal.
Lady Liberty is also prominently holding a legal tablet in her hand symbolizing the fair and equal rule of law.

If anything, illegal aliens are spitting on the statue and rejecting the symbolism, not honoring it."

CA OFFENDER, master hyperbolist, is at it again. OFFENDER should be more offended by his own lack of knowledge of US history, particularly immigration history AND labor history! I don't even know where to start with him! To make references to Ellis Island only demonstrates his lack of knowledge on the subject.

Why don't you read about the riots in N.O. against those "LEGAL" Italian immigrants in the 1890s? Why don't you read up about the Quota System legislation of 1917, 1921, 1924 AND 1952 (the latter of which, even Ike criticized for being discriminatory???) Why don't you read about Japanese immigration being stopped in 1925??? Do you know what the Gentlemen's Agreement was??? All very LEGAL, CA Offender. Why don't read about how these same acts, discriminated legal immigration of political dissenters and the gays??? why don't you read about how the Border Patrol was created not to stem the flow of clandestine Mexicans but Chinese!!! Why don't you read about the use of Mexican labor in Texas and the southwest, how Mexican were recruited and how American growers for the most part, opposed any restrictive legislation??? Why don't you read about how border enforcement was lax (per request) during harvesting seasons??? Why don't you read about US-born children being deported during the great repatriation??? Why don't you read about the Texas proviso??? Read the history, because it's all very different from cutting ties across the Atlantic!

There is much material out there, CA, all waiting for you to absorb it!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 25, 2014 at 3:50 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I see some very rational, coherent, and articulate posts from people like Warhawk and benz. Then I see wild ranting from missionaccomplished.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 25, 2014 at 4:41 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Missionfailed,

I am very well aware of everything you mentioned.

I would much rather see enforcement aimed at businesses and politicians who bend or break immigration law. Punishing them is the solution to this problem.

I've always said that.

You just prefer to hear the sound of your own keystrokes endlessly tapping away. BTW, you still need to get that "K" key fixed.

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Avatar for user 'sacooper'

sacooper | June 25, 2014 at 5:15 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

What would Jesus do?

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Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | June 25, 2014 at 5:47 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

there are reports that there a number of pregnant teenagers, which means their babies become u.s. citizens --- anchor babies. latinos suffer from an entitlement complex. they are demanding an attorney for each one of the children --- if that's not entitlement (without payment from the supporters or beneficiaries) i don't know what is. the more we let more and more latinos control this country, the less the rest of us can enforce our values, laws and standards.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 26, 2014 at 8:59 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

California you hit on a good point that most people seem to miss. The reason people enter this country illegally is to get jobs. If there were no jobs, they would not come here. How do we cut off the supply of jobs? Severe penalties for businesses that hire illegals. Penalties so severe that companies will not hire illegals. It seems like a simple solution. So why won't they do this? Well, if immigrants were not trying to sneak into this country all the time, what would the border patrol do to justify their budget?

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Avatar for user 'vinced'

vinced | June 26, 2014 at 4:25 p.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

We gave amnesty in 1986 with the promise of enforcement. We all know how that worked out. Now we have a president who has planned for this surge, and planned to accommodate it by settling these "kids" all over the country. See this link:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=c6d7c0050b912fbc917a46d6709d38bd&tab=core&tabmode=list&=s=opportunity&mode=form&id=c6d7c0050b912fbc917a46d6709d38bd&tab=core&tabmode=list&;

Thanks Escondito for saying NO! You are not alone.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 27, 2014 at 8:22 a.m. ― 2 months, 3 weeks ago

vinced, equating trying to settle a few thousand kids to giving amnesty to 10 plus million people is idiotic.

And the reason your Ronald Reagan failed on this issue is because immigration reform is a multi-pronged approach, and your Ronald Reagan only executed amnesty without reform of the legal process and stepped-up border control.

Your Ronald Reagan was too busy spending money on funneling arms to Iran to care about border issues.

(Hmmmm gave amnesty, armed Iran, AND raised taxes, why, again, is this guy the conservative's model president!?!?!?!)

Anyway, amnesty has become a dirty word by the unrealistic anti-immigrant crowd who thinks it's financially, constitutionally, and economically possible to actually round-up tens of millions of people, check their immigration status, and deport them all.

Anyone who says all illegal immigrants in this country should be rounded up and deported is either too stupid to realize that is quite impossible, or they are playing to the stupid to get votes knowing themselves it will not and cannot ever happen.

For real immigration reform to occur in this country, we have to realize that we can't spend time crying over the spilled milk of a failed system.

Amnesty CAN work IF it is done with other reforms and not just done as a band-aid like your Ronald Reagan ineptly did.

First, the LEGAL process needs to be made less cumbersome and more realistic.

Second, Amnesty needs to be granted.

Then, with less people trying to cross illegally due to a more realistic legal process, and with enforcement being done at the border with all resources concentrated there where it should be (not after the fact in our cities and communities), the border becomes much easier to manage.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 27, 2014 at 2:35 p.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Duck,

Mass deportations have been done, most successfully in the 1950s under Eisenhower. The goal was 1,000 deportations per day and to transport them at least 500 miles south of the border with an organized fleet of buses and ships.

It was much more successful than anticipated with 50,000 deportations in the first month with an additional 480,000 fleeing to Mexico on their own.

Mass deportations are feasible logistically, it is just the political will that lacks.

Illegal aliens are too valuable as slaves for the agri-industry. Deportation removes the labor source and amnesty removes the slave status. So absolutely nothing will be done unless someone figures out a way to get Americans to accept a steep increase in the price of produce.

Also, I have no idea why Reagan is a hero to Republicans either.

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Avatar for user 'teJAS'

teJAS | June 30, 2014 at 7:49 a.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I look at the picture above and see 400 people who turned out in fury because they want children to suffer. No solutions, no compassion, just blind jingoistic malice. This was no orderly, civil meeting. Escondido's mayor went on hate TV to foment a near riot at his own planning commission meeting, booing, hissing, shouting down opposition, red faced, white knuckles clutching their misguided, misspelled signs. Gleeful quote from the chairman, "This is a sports event. Let the game be played and see who wins." After all, there is an election in November and the party of rage needs to energize its crazy base.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 30, 2014 at 8:49 a.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

teJAS individuals can have compassion, but it is not the job of my government to treat illegal aliens better than americans, and use my tax dollars to take care of them. Stop coming to this country illegally.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 30, 2014 at 10:06 a.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

teJAS,

When I compare your post to that of Warhawks1980 (who was actually there) it seems like YOU are the one trying to foment hatred. Not just of the citizen driven political process, but of individual people who wish to voice their opinion.

Also, did Chairman Jeff Weber actually say that? Are you telling the truth?

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