SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Mayor Todd Gloria said 500 migrant teen girls are arriving at the Convention Center in Downtown San Diego Saturday night. They arrived around 9:40 p.m.
The girls are ages 13-17 and arrived by plane from Texas.
"Even without the commitment of this facility plenty of folks were coming. There were parents making impossible decisions, ones you and I couldn't even imagine," Mayor Todd Gloria said in a press conference in front of the Convention Center.
"Can you imagine the trauma some of these girls have faced on the way here? Can you imagine how difficult it's been for them?" Rep. Juan Vargas said.
The Mexican Consulate said the majority of the girls are not Mexican nationals, meaning they traveled a long way alone to get to the U.S.
San Diego is the first in California to create this emergency intake site amid the surge of migrants clamoring to enter the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office.
"I think often gets lost in these conversations when we use words like UAC or unaccompanied minor or migrant. These are children. Plain and simple. children," Rep. Sara Jacobs said.
Politicians applauded the week of work it took to set up this shelter for the girls who arrived in the U.S. legally seeking asylum.
The girls will have resources including education, legal, religious and health care services. They are only expected to stay about a month before being placed with their sponsor or a family member.
"This is not the answer to immigration reform, this is not the answer to asylum reform, but it is for the girls who are going to rest their heads here for the next few months," Rep. Scott Peters said.
The girls will be out of the convention center mid-July in preparation for the first convention planned for August.
The federal government is paying for all of the costs associated with the shelter.
South Bay is asking for financial donations to support the ladies when they leave the convention center.