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Migrant girls at San Diego Convention Center 'grateful'

After these hundreds of girls crossed the border, they were virtually warehoused in crowded facilities before coming to San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego's emergency shelter for immigrant girls is nearing capacity. It’s expected to exceed 1,000 girls this weekend, but it seems to be running smoothly.

Suffering through loneliness and hardship in the extreme, the teenagers have landed in a good place: the San Diego Convention Center.

"What we can do as San Diegans is make sure we're protecting some of these young girls who have been in really challenging situations, just make sure that they're safe," San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas declared. 

After these hundreds of girls crossed the border, they were virtually warehoused in crowded facilities before coming to San Diego.

"The Convention Center knows how to welcome people; it's what they do," San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria told News 8. 

Some of the girls shared their feelings about the difficult journey with Supervisor Vargas, during her visits there. 

"How difficult it was for them but how grateful they are to have warm food, a nice bed and people who are taking care of them," she said. 

It's a major operation, involving many organizations and hundreds of volunteers. There's a clinic, too, with 120 of the girls having tested positive for COVID-19.

Mayor Gloria spoke of the great cooperation here.

"Between the Convention Center, South Bay Community Services, Rady Children's Hospital, we have really put together something that is meeting the needs of these children under these difficult circumstances," he said. 

Health and safety are high priorities but there is also a need for contact with family and friends.

Supervisor Vargas touched on that. 

"One of the young ladies said to me, you know, I haven't talked to my parents in about 25 days. It's been a long journey and I wish I could tell them personally that I'm okay and so I know we're trying to get phones for them,” Vargas said. 

Vargas also addressed the urgency of moving them to permanent homes. 

"90% of them have family or close relatives already waiting for them, so making sure that process is moving forward as soon as possible, I think is really critical,” she said. 

The maximum number is set at 1450, which is expected this coming week. 

The facility will close in mid-July.

WATCH: 33 migrant girls staying at San Diego Convention Center test positive for COVID-19