Sen. Warner Praises Conditions of Immigrant Children Housed at Youth For Tomorrow

| June 28, 2018 | 0 Comments | News

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia at Youth For Tomorrow in Bristow on June 27, 2018, addressing their housing of immigrant children. 

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) has concerns about immigrant children separated at the border, but not those being housed at Youth For Tomorrow in Bristow, Virginia.

He called the Youth For Tomorrow a “first-rate facility.”

“These kids are being taken care of in a clean and appropriate environment; they are getting the health care and education that they need,” the Virginia Senator said in a media conference after visiting the facility on Wednesday.

Youth For Tomorrow is a nonprofit facility founded by Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs. Youth For Tomorrow takes in at-risk youth, pregnant teenagers, girls who have been sexually trafficked or abused, unaccompanied minors and children who have been separated by their families at the border and others who need crisis counseling and intervention.

YFT houses and educates their students who live in houses on the campus.

As of June 27, YFT housed 110 immigrant children, mostly unaccompanied minors, and 15 children who had been separated from family members at the border. According to a press conference with Sen. Warner, Wednesday, those 15 children have been allowed to contact family members. They are boys and girls ages 10-17.

Warner does not want anyone to conflate the photos of children recently separated from their families at the border with the condition of children at this school.

“The horrific images that we’ve seen at the border where these children and families are put in inhumane circumstances was an area admin by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and the CBC [Center for Border Control].”

In contrast, he said, “here at Youth For Tomorrow, we are seeing one of the best facilities in the whole nation.”

At Youth For Tomorrow, they have had a chance to get a hot shower, dressed, hot food and medical care explained Warner. They are staying in “nice” homes donated by philanthropists and eating in what looked to him like a school cafeteria.

The children have access to counseling and can call relatives. He said they are being educated including receiving life-skills and can visit the non-denominational chapel.

He is not surprised that they are being well-taken care of at YFT.

“Gary Jones (Chief Executive Officer for Youth For Tomorrow), who I’ve known and worked with since I was governor, and his team, these are people who care very deeply about these children”

Warner has concerns about children being housed at other facilities across the nation. He prays they are being held in facilities as nice as YFT, but doubts that is the case.

Of the 2,000 plus children separated at the border, he does not know how many have been able to make contact with their family members, although he has sought that information.

Warner said the Office of Health and Human Services is responsible for reuniting families, not facilities like YFT, and it is not an easy task.

Warner said the president and his administration decided to implement their “zero-tolerance” immigration policy in a “haphazard” manner, creating a multitude of problems.

Now government agencies are tasked with reuniting families. They must locate parents or relatives and prove they really are relatives and not traffickers.

Warner said he had brief conversations with the children, most of which originally resided in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. He said they “appear healthy.” He had concerns that Health and Human Services representatives were “heavy-handed” and “very concerned with any conversation I might have” with the children.

However, he did not mind YFT being private. He said it is necessary to protect the children, and not release photos of them because people who crossed over the border might be interested in hurting them.

Warner said he found the president’s “horrific policy” and “disturbing” and he is glad the president overturned it in response to public pressure.

According to Nelly Decker, a spokesperson for Warner’s office, two of the 15 children scheduled to be reunited with their families soon.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) visited Youth For Tomorrow last week.

Listen to the press conference on Facebook

This article has been updated with further information. 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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