Company blocked from opening facility for unaccompanied migrant youth in North Philly

Mike Dougherty
July 03, 2019 - 8:29 pm
Located inside of Logan Plaza on Old York Road, The Grace Dix Center will provide temporary residential housing and services for to up to 60 migrant youth between ages 13 and 17.

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An appeals court has blocked a company from opening a facility for unaccompanied migrant youth in North Philadelphia. 

VisionQuest built the Grace Dix Center to hold about 60 boys who entered the country illegally, but backlash from several groups brought the fight to court, and a third appeal ruled in favor of the city, blocking the facility from holding any migrant children.

"We think this is a great decision, and we applaud the court's decision to do this," said Miguel Andrade, who works with Juntos, a group that has been trying to stop the detention of all migrants.

"Instead of spending millions of dollars at a private, for-profit company that's going to be housing, and essentially, neglecting these young people, why don't we take that money and invest it in community housing, in community resources," Andrade said. 

He says VisionQuest has a questionable history at other facilities.

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"VisionQuest has a tainted record, even here in Philadelphia," Andrade said. "Their license was revoked in 2017 by the city because of mistreatment of some of the young people that were in their facilities."

In a statement, VisionQuest said they were disappointed in the verdict and that it harms children who need temporary housing. VisionQuest said "It also means that thousands of immigrant children remain at the border in unsafe, and in inhumane conditions unable to obtain the services and treatment that they are guaranteed under the law here in the United States." 

They added that it's "equally disappointing" to "continue to litigate" with Philadelphia, a sanctuary city that "opened its doors to provide refuge and services to immigrants - the exact purpose of why the Grace Dix Center exists - yet is preventing us from providing these services to immigrant children who will now have to remain at the border until this is fully resolved."