Escondido upholds decision to block immigrant youth shelter - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Escondido upholds decision to block immigrant youth shelter

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ESCONDIDO (CBS 8) - The Escondido City Council Wednesday upheld a previous decision to block a residential facility for immigrant children from opening in the city.

The ACLU filed an appeal of the city planning commission's unanimous vote over the summer not to grant a permit for a 96 bed facility, which would temporarily house immigrant children, ages six to 17, who come to the U.S. from Central and South America by themselves.

Last June, the Escondido Planning Commission denied a request for a special land use permit to convert the facility, which previously served as a skilled nursing facility, to a migrant youth shelter. 

Residents have expressed concern over safety, as well as children escaping from the facility. Neighbors also pointed out there was no room for an outdoor recreation area.

Supporters of the facility, including representatives from the ACLU, countered that those concerns were "red herrings," arguing that this type of facility would be "a perfect fit" for Escondido.

Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz, who supports the shelter proposal, was the sole dissenting vote Wednesday night, telling the packed audience "I may lose an election, but I will not lose my humanity."

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