U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) spoke at the Monarch School in Barrio Logan Tuesday to raise awareness about a bill she’s sponsoring meant to help raise children out of homelessness.
San Diego has the fourth largest homeless population in the country, and the Monarch School is exclusively for students who are homeless.
“For me, this is a big star in the map of California, this facility, and the fourth-grade class that I just met with was so full of energy,” she told NBC 7.
The bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act would expand the definition of homelessness to include children living in motels and doubled-up households, in alignment with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definition.
She said the issue will be one she focuses on if re-elected in 2018.
“I'm going to make try and make this my highest priority in the next term,” Feinstein said.
There are 23,800 homeless children in San Diego, according to Feinstein, and 20 percent of all homeless kids live in California, an estimated 200,000. She said the problem needs both public and private support.
For the first time in decades Feinstein, who first took office in 1992, has a serious challenger for her Senate seat in 2018.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon from Los Angeles (D-24) campaigned near Barrio Logan last week.
During Feinstein's visit, she spoke to NBC 7 about a range of topics, including Robert Mueller, the asylum-seeking migrant caravan in Tijuana and the Iran nuclear deal.
Feinstein said her office is watching the hundreds of Central American asylum seekers at the San Diego Border in the migrant caravan closely.
“We have made inquiries, we have not gotten satisfactory answers so far,” she said.
She has also been critical of the Trump Administration’s handling of the requests for asylum.
“The president has said this is a loophole, I wrote the law I know what it is,” she said.
She has said President Trump is tearing apart families with his immigration policies.
“I will fight that with everything I possibly can fight it with to prevent that from happening,” she promised.
Another fight she has taken on in Washington is passing the bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Mueller has to be able to finish and has to be able to file his report, and that I think there's unanimous agreement in the Senate so that's a good thing – doesn't happen that often.”
She also touched on the Iran nuclear deal, saying U.S. and international intelligence show Iran has not violated the deal, and she believes President Trump knows that.