STAUNTON, Va. (AP) — -

Seven Central American children under the age of 18 are being held in a Shenandoah Valley center for juvenile offenders in Staunton.

The executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center told the News Leader (http://bit.ly/1mnK8PB ) they were placed at the center in the last month. Timothy Smith said they were among thousands of unaccompanied children who have fled their homes and crossed the border illegally into the U.S.

Smith said the center has been taking in children who are in similar circumstances for five years under a contract with the federal government.

As of Thursday, 24 out of 30 beds used for children in the country illegally were in use at the juvenile center.

The primary goal of the juvenile center is to hold juvenile offenders.

Here is a statement from 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte:

“The fact that the Obama Administration is shipping minors to detention facilities all across our country is a symptom of the larger problem – President Obama’s failure to enforce our immigration laws has resulted in a crisis of his own making at our southern border. It’s clear that action is needed to stop this influx at our borders. The President could fix this problem by enforcing our laws, cracking down on fraud, and sending the clear message that those who come to our country illegally will be sent back home. However, because the President is refusing to act, I joined with Congressman Jason Chaffetz yesterday to introduce the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act in order to end many of the Obama Administration’s policies that encourage Central Americans to come to the United States in the first place. This legislation subjects Central Americans to expedited removal from the U.S., gives the Border Patrol the tools they need to apprehend and send illegal crossers back to their home countries, and cracks down on fraudulent asylum claims, among other important provisions.”