Images of migrant children kept in detention centers near the border have stirred strong feelings around the country. But the Portland-area shelter where federal officials send immigrant children is very different.
There’s not an inch of chain-link fencing in a spacious facility run by Morrison Child and Family Centers. The building can house 70 immigrant teens at a time. It’s more dorm than detention facility, with tidy classrooms, recreations areas with couches and TVs—even a weight room.
Morrison has had a federal contract to help place unaccompanied immigrant children with local families for years. But CEO Drew Henrie-McWIlliams said people began protesting outside recently, when news broke that four kids who’d been split from their parents wound up in Portland.
“People just made assumptions that this wasn’t a good place for kids. We’re keeping kids from their families, when that was the opposite,” he said. “So that was hard.”
Morrison issued a statement this week saying it was “shocked, horrified, and heartbroken” by recent federal immigration policies.