PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTXF) - Immigrant children here illegally are caught in the crosshairs of a battle between the City of Philadelphia and the federal government. An Arizona-based company is planning to house 60 children who arrived alone at the U.S.–Mexico border. The company wants to hold them at a property in Logan but it's not going over well with city officials.
Some city officials are flat out against the plan and say it doesn't comply with the rules the city has set up.
Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym says she will fight any attempt by an Arizona-based youth services agency to house children caught up in the immigration crisis.
Visionquest has a federal contract to take in 60 illegal immigrant boys ages 12 to 17-years-old to a facility on Old York Road in Logan.
"Instead of being at home with families, they are in virtual jails," said Councilwoman Gym.
The children who are from South American countries and Mexico crossed the border alone and are currently in shelters across the country.
Visionquest CEO Peter Ranalli said that they are renovating the accommodation to make them more comfortable to live in. He said, "Our job is to find them families and sponsors."
Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney is not happy either and says the city is trying to figure out a way to stop it.
"We don't want to be part of this child incarceration the Trump administration is engaged in," said Mayor Kenney.
Visionquest says its programs give the kids the support they need. It teaches them English and helps to get them acclimated in a new place.
CEO Peter Ranalli said, "We don't want a huge ugly fight. That's not our intention."
Visionquest previously used the property for a juvenile justice treatment facility for 125 Philadelphia kids. Councilwoman Gym says the city ended that contract for a reason.
"We got records from our city services and at the state level. VisonQuest has failed time and time again to be an appropriate caregiver for children whether they are refugees from Honduras or whether children born in this city."
Visionquest CEO did not say when the children would be arriving but welcomed the opportunity to speak to the Mayor and other city officials.