Residents protest proposed detention center for migrant children in Arleta

ARLETA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Through dancing and chanting, dozens denounced a proposed detention center for migrant children in Arleta.

"I'm so glad we're here to say, 'This is enough. Not in our neighborhoods,'" said local activist Trini Cardenas.

The federal government awarded Tucson-based Vision Quest a grant to house unaccompanied minors in Texas, Arizona and California. The agency has faced accusations of mistreating children under its care.

For many, the subject is deeply personal. Mayra Todd's granddaughters recently immigrated from Guatemala and were held in different detention centers with a parent about six months ago. They later described their experience to Todd, telling her the officers would ask why they were there and why they didn't "stay in their country."

One of the girls claimed they were allowed to eat once a day and that the food was thrown at them.

"That's why we're fighting. Because we understand that no psychologist, no doctors that will cure these kids," Todd said.

The girls are currently getting to know their new home in the U.S. and learning English, proudly counting to 30.

"I get so happy," Todd said of hearing her granddaughters speaking in English.

Several elected officials are also opposing the detention center.

Eyewitness News reached out to Vision Quest for comment and has not heard back.
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