"Collectively, we came to the conclusion that we are quite satisfied with the conditions," said state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) in a conference call with reporters.
In an afternoon rally, clergy members described what they saw inside the facility. Visitors were not allowed to speak with the children, they said, but were able to get a sense of their daily routine and activities, as well as their emotional well-being.
"We saw their faces, we heard them greet us with buenos dias and good morning," said Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church, who led the religious delegation to the base. "The smiles were incredible."
Some 700 children have already been processed and united with relatives, according to members of the legislative group.
Children participate in a structured daily routine, both groups said, taking classes in English as a second language and other basic subjects, playing sports, and attending a series of interfaith religious services. Most of the children are religious: Carcaño recounted how all but one child stopped watching World Cup matches on television to attend religious services.
Legislators echoed the description, saying that the base had been converted to house the children and was adequate for their needs. Detained children sleep in twin bunk beds, take classes in temporary classrooms, and use outdoor restroom facilities for showering and bathing, they said.
Local volunteers like Jessica Flanagan have been overwhelmed by donations from the local community.
Many have legitimate cause for seeking asylum, said state Sen. Norma Torres (D-Chino), who toured the facility with her fellow legislators.
"It's important for the U.S. to realize that this is a humanitarian crisis that is impacting very young children who have come here because they have seen that there is absolutely no future in their homeland," said Torres, who hails from Guatemala. "Many of these children have come seeking refuge with family here because their parents have been murdered in their homeland."
Without adequate legal representation, advocates say, even those cases may not be enough to ensure legal refugee status.
"I think it really is time for them to find counsel for these kids during removal proceedings, just the way we have it during criminal proceedings," she said.