D.C. Officials Oppose Plan to Shelter Migrant Children in Nation’s Capital

By Shani Saxon Aug 14, 2019

Officials in Washington D.C. on Tuesday (August 13) rejected the Trump administration’s plan to shelter unaccompanied migrant children in the area, The Washington Post reports. 

Federal contractor Dynamic Service Solutions (DSS) applied to open a temporary shelter for migrant children in D.C., but Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) says she is firmly against the idea. “Washington, D.C. will not be complicit in the inhumane practice of detaining migrant children in warehouses,” Bowser said in a statement to The Post. “We have no intention of accepting a new federal facility, least of all one that detains and dehumanizes migrant children.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has so far not commented on its intended plans with DSS, which has been “advertising job listings for educators, caseworkers and medical staff members to work with ‘unaccompanied alien’ children in the nation’s capital,” per The Post. 

A person familiar with DSS’ application told The Post the proposed shelter would house up to 242 children. Members of the D.C. council told the news outlet they believed the facility “would be located on private property in Takoma, a Northwest D.C. neighborhood near the Maryland border.”

Council member Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4) represents that area of the city. He stressed to The Post that his objection to the plan isn’t about the children themselves, but about the Trump administration’s unethical practices. “We are going to bring 200 migrant children to a sheltered facility? That’s absurd, it really is. I wouldn’t support it even if it was 10 children,” he said. “This isn’t how you treat humans.”

Maria Gomez, president and chief executive of community health space Mary’s Center, was adamant about this facility being a bad idea. “So many of us in the Latino community are opposed to this happening anywhere in the United States, but certainly not when it’s in our backyard,” she told The Post. 

For the proposed shelter for migrant children to move forward, it must be approved by the District’s Child and Family Services Agency, which oversees foster care and child welfare services, and by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which certifies buildings for occupancy. So far, according to a D.C. official who spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity, the application from DSS was deemed “inadequate.” However, it wasn’t rejected and is still “pending,” according to the source.