Over 200 children separated at border brought to facility in East Harlem

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Dave Evans reports from the facility in East Harlem.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Hundreds of children who have been separated from their parents at the border are spending their days in a facility in East Harlem.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the facility Wednesday and said the youngest of those children was just nine months old.

The mayor said 239 children are there. He said he was shocked to see the images playing out at the southern border and even more shocked that children by the hundreds had been coming to the city.

De Blasio spent nearly an hour at Cayuga Centers, a social service provider that has a contract with the federal government.

He met with administrators who told him at least 350 children have come through the facility since the federal government's zero tolerance policy went into effect.

He spoke at length about one 9-year-old boy Eddie, who came with his mother seeking asylum from Honduras. She is being held in Texas.

Eddie was put on a bus and transported 2,000 miles to Manhattan and he is far from alone.

De Blasio said he had no idea about the hundreds of children who had been taken there.

"Our message to the federal government is simple, stop this right now," said the mayor. "Stop this broken inhuman policy right now and come clean with the truth: who are these children, how many are they, where are they, what is happening here, how is it possible that none of us knew there were 239 kids right here in our own city."

The mayor will head to the border town of Tornillo, Texas, where he and mayors from across the country will attempt to gain access to the detention facility at the Marcelino Serna entry point Thursday morning.

The children in East Harlem are being placed in foster homes and come to the facility during the day where they work with social service providers.

Also, not all 239 kids are there inside the facility at one time.

Inside the Cayuga facility, the Mayor observed about 40 kids and 3 teachers in a classroom. He said that most kids were from Guatemala and that it "looked like kids were being treated well".

De Blasio said children have come with lice, bed bugs and contagious diseases.

The mayor said that people have made threats against the workers at Cayuga and that their anger is "misguided".

He instead said people should be upset with the Trump Administration. He said the NYPD will provide protection to this facility, and said he plans to be in touch with and visit other facilities around New York City.


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