Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion instructing LA County to monitor and possibly join litigation challenging the federal government’s anti-flu vaccine policy for migrant children at U.S. border detention facilities:


“The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) imprudent decision to deny migrant children the flu vaccine while they are detained at a border detention center is reprehensible and irresponsible. Flu outbreaks are common at CBP holding facilities. Unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, and poor nutrition increase the risk for infectious diseases to spread quickly among detained migrants who are not vaccinated.


“As the flu swept through CBP detention centers last winter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the CBP vaccinate detained pregnant women and migrant children against the virus, but the CBP outright rejected the recommendation. As a result, in the last several months, at least three migrant children have died from the flu at detention centers on the U.S. southern border.


“This is a public health concern that affects all children, not just detained migrant children. Detained migrant children who have not been vaccinated, but may have been exposed to the flu, are transferred to other locations throughout the United States. Nationally, LA County receives the second-highest number of unaccompanied minors released from the CBP’s custody once these unimmunized youth are transferred to the care of a local sponsor. Once here, unaccompanied minors may unknowingly carry and spread the flu virus, and they may end up requiring hospitalization at a County medical facility.


“CBP’s refusal to provide flu vaccines to detained migrants is unconscionable and shortsighted. This Administration has a moral responsibility to provide basic humane care to migrant children at border detention centers. If all migrant children are not vaccinated at the first point of entry, County residents may suffer the consequences.”


Today’s action marks the 51st immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a $3 million dollar contribution to the LA Justice Fund, and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of actions, please click here.


Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, 213-359-0795, or rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov