Biden administration cuts off funding for child refugee program in South Florida

La Jornada, which will close Oct. 31, provides temporary housing and assists with sponsor family placement.

Migrants attempting to cross in to the U.S. from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border August 20, 2022 in San Luis, Arizona.

Migrants attempting to cross in to the U.S. from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border August 20, 2022 in San Luis, Arizona. Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis and other Republican governors have been under fire from President Joe Biden and his administration for sending undocumented migrants – including children – to other states in recent days. His administration, however, now is cutting off funding to a program in Miami-Dade County that provides transitional foster care for refugee kids from Central America.

La Jornada, a program by the nonprofit Ohio-based National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP), is permanently shutting down in Homestead Oct. 31 after the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement decided not to renew its financial support. It’s unclear why the program was cut and if anything else will replace it. The office, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had not responded to a request for comment as of Friday. Several immigrant advocates in South Florida who were contacted by City & State last week said they were unaware of the program. 

NYAP filed a notice that it’s laying off all 84 staff members under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN. When asked how many children were currently in La Jornada – Spanish for “the journey” – or how many in total it served during its existence, Linda Sanner, national assistant director of administration for NYAP, declined to answer. 

Immigration, always a contentious issue in Florida and nationally, has again been thrust into the national conversation as Gov. Ron DeSantis makes headlines by using state budget money to fly Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas. Budget language created a $12 million fund that the governor is using to fund the flights, which critics have derided as “kidnapping” and “human trafficking.” And he has been accusing the Biden administration of secretly flying migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to his state for months

A now-shuttered detention center, or "temporary influx facility," also in Homestead once housed the “largest center for unaccompanied migrant children (and) turned into the symbolic must-visit site for 2020 Democrats,” as the Tampa Bay Times described it. After reports of abuse and overcrowding, Biden administration officials closed it, then planned to reopen it last year as the “Biscayne Influx Care Facility” to house migrant teens aged 13 to 17, according to the Miami Herald. They never did, however. 

Now, DeSantis is seen as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, and former President Donald Trump, who first helped launch DeSantis to political prominence, focused heavily on immigration to success with his conservative voting base while campaigning and in office. 

For example, DeSantis this February said “it was ‘quite frankly disgusting’ to compare Cuban children who came to Miami 60 years ago with those (now) coming to the United States from Central America and other locations” south of the border, Florida Politics reported. “He said they are mostly males, ‘military age,’ 15 to 17 years old – ‘not some babies dropped over the border.’ ”

Program started under 3-year grant that wasn’t renewed

NYAP received a three-year grant from the feds to run the program in 2019, Sanner told City & State. When child refugees come into the United States, they are put into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The department uses programs like La Jornada to provide temporary housing and to assist with sponsor family placement so children can get a more permanent residence. 

Sanner said children usually stayed with La Jornada for about 30 days. She could not give a reason why the program was not renewed for funding and said she didn’t know if any other organization would be replacing NYAP’s services. 

Besides Venezuela, Central American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been experiencing economic and political instability, leading to a spike in their residents seeking refuge in other countries in recent years. There are currently nearly 600,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from those countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

DeSantis also has supported legislation mandating law enforcement agencies in Florida that oversee county detention facilities to work with federal authorities to enforce immigration laws. He signed a bill that bars Florida government agencies from doing business with transportation companies that bring undocumented immigrants to the state. And he sent Florida law enforcement to the Texas border in 2021 to help with border security. 

Contact Tristan Wood at twood@cityandstatefl.com and follow him on Twitter: @TristanDWood 

NEXT STORY: Florida asks U.S. Supreme Court to decide fight over Big Tech law

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.