Garcetti Says 100 Migrant Children in L.A. `Among the Very Youngest'

posted by City News Service -

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Eric Garcetti said today his office is working to identify and help the estimated 100 migrant children who are believed to be in the Los Angeles area after being separated from their parents at the Mexican border by immigration authorities. 

But he said the federal government is not providing any information about the children and there is no legal means for the city to compel it to do so.

Garcetti said his office believes the children in the city were being placed in group homes and foster care through organizations that are contracted with the federal government, and also that most of the children are believed to be ``among the very youngest.''``They may be so young they cannot tell us who their parents are,'' Garcetti said while speaking to reporters at City Hall. 

The mayor just returned from a trip to Texas where he held a news conference Thursday with a bipartisan group of mayors outside a federal immigration detention facility where other children separated from their parents at the border are believed to be located. He said all of the info his office is getting on children in the L.A. area is not coming from the federal government.``We have to demand from federal authorities any records. We don't even know if they kept any records,'' Garcetti said, adding that there is no law on the books for the city to compel the federal government to provide it with any information on the children. 

Trump said Wednesday he was ending the much-criticized policy of separating children and their parents at the Mexican border when the parents are suspected of entering the country illegally. Trump's new order requires immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although some of the details on how long they would be held were unclear. The order comes after the administration had faced bipartisan pressure to end the separation policy. 

When announcing the change during a news conference at the White House, Trump said, ``We are very strong at the border. We're very strong on security, we want security for our country. Republicans want security and insist on security for our country. And we will have that. At the same time we have compassion, we want to keep families together.''

Garcetti said he was concerned the children separated from their families may not be reunited with their parents due to a possible lack of record keeping, and also said there was no clear plan on how or when the children would be returned to their parents. The mayor, a Democrat who is exploring a possible run for the presidency in 2020, was also highly critical of the policy that led to the separations.

``What is almost as bad as the inhumanity is the incompetence,'' Garcetti said. ``I have to run a city. I have to make sure the trains run on time. I have to make sure that literally things work. And we don't do it perfectly but we are 100 times ahead of what we can see is the incompetence of the federal government is doing right now.''

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