SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For 95 days the inside of the San Diego Convention Center became home to more than 3,200 unaccompanied children who came from Central and South America.
The majority were picked up near the ports of entry in Texas and either flown or taken by bus to San Diego.
The children stayed at the convention center from a week to a month, depending on their situation and how easily they could be reunited with family members.
"We provided a whole slew of services for the kids — from educational, legal, medical, dental, vision screenings," said Pete Weldy, with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Thursday morning, local, state, and federal leaders from the region gathered to officially wrap up the shelter. Displayed behind them was artwork and notes the children left behind.
"This was their Ellis Island, this was their Statue of Liberty. This was where they came because they needed help and San Diegans stepped forward," said Congressman Juan Vargas.
In total, there are 3,213 kids who were at the shelter and are now back with their parents, legal guardians, or other family members across the country. Officials said of that number, less than 30 of them were put in foster care because family members couldn’t be found.
Officials said there are conversations that are happening that could call on San Diego to help out once more. They wouldn’t really get into details on what that could entail, but the federal government described the San Diego shelter as a success.