Assemblyman Gorell Responds to HHS Facility Holding Undocumented Immigrant Children
Due to the high volume of constituent questions and concerns related to the temporary housing of undocumented immigrant children at Naval Base Ventura County, State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, whose district includes the base, released the following statement:Shortly after national stories broke that hundreds of undocumented immigrant children were being held at Navy Base Ventura County (NBVC) under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Assemblyman Jeff Gorell contacted the Commander of the Base and continuously reached out to HHS officials requesting a briefing and tour of the facility. After several weeks and almost a dozen calls and e-mails, his Assembly office and several other elected officials were finally granted a tour this afternoon.
Three primary concerns have been raised regarding the facility: (1) the condition and health of the children; (2) public health concerns; and (3) the timeline and Administration’s strategy for the use of NBVC for housing undocumented immigrants, which is not the intended use for a military base.
From our discussions with local health officials and what we observed at the facility today, our office believes that the facility is operating in a manner that does not compromise the health of children and the public. The overall conditions for the children are very good at this time. Furthermore, HSS officials confirmed that they intend to use NBVC for a total of 120 days, of which 30 days have currently been used.
“Currently, the situation at Navy Base Ventura County has satisfactorily met our priority concerns regarding the health of the children and the local community,” stated Assemblyman Gorell. “We will continue to closely monitor and communicate with base leadership and HHS officials to ensure the best interests of the children and local residents are met.”
A number of very relevant concerns have been raised by local residents regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ program. NBVC is neither a prison, nor a medical quarantine facility, and the local community should be made aware of everything that is being done to minimize the very real public health threat that exists from housing refugees in a busy military facility that is located within an urban area.