L.A. Blocks Private Detention Centers, Including Facilities for Youth Immigrants, From Opening in City

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Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, shown reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a council meeting, backed the measure to ban private detention centers.(Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, shown reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a council meeting, backed the measure to ban private detention centers.(Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles is blocking privately run detention centers from opening in the city, including facilities for immigrant youth in government custody, under a stopgap measure approved Tuesday by the City Council.

“Making any money off of the misery and the pain of children is morally wrong on so many levels — and we cannot allow this in our city,” Council President Nury Martinez said at a recent news conference.

The new rule is specifically aimed at stopping a privately run facility for “unaccompanied minors” from opening its doors in Arleta, a plan being pursued by the Tucson-based firm VisionQuest. Martinez had denounced that idea, saying that VisionQuest had a troubled history and “should not be anywhere near immigrant children.”

VisionQuest had hired a law firm to represent the company at City Hall and inquired of city officials about converting a Woodman Avenue building once used as an assisted living facility. The firm said it had been awarded contracts from the federal government to operate facilities in Tucson, San Antonio and Southern California.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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