Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez wants to ban the city from handing out any building permits for private detention centers, including facilities that would hold unaccompanied immigrant minors.
The proposal, announced Friday, could thwart any effort to open a facility for unaccompanied minors in the Arleta neighborhood in Martinez’s district. VisionQuest, a for-profit company based in Tucson, has already retained a lobbying firm to help it seek approval from the city, according to city disclosures.
The site, once occupied by an assisted living facility, has been discussed as a possible facility for those ages 11 to 17 who entered the country as unaccompanied minors, according to city records. Martinez has denounced the idea, likening such facilities to prisons.
“I will not stand idly by and allow for-profit companies to get rich off of the anguish and suffering of immigrant children in Arleta, or anywhere else in Los Angeles,” said Martinez, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley.
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