Thursday, June 12, 2014

AZMEX I3 12-6-14

AZMEX I3 12 JUN 2014

Ariz. speaker, majority whip denied access to center in Nogales
Originally published: Jun 11, 2014 - 7:54 pm

PHOENIX -- Two Arizona representatives were denied access Wednesday to the detention center in Nogales where unaccompanied minors are being held.

House Speaker Andy Tobin and Majority Whip Rick Gray drove down to the center in Nogales but were then stopped by Border Patrol and refused entry.

The federal agency told the men they had to give a 72-hour notice. Tobin mentioned that Mesa Mayor Scott Smith was granted access earlier that morning.

"I understand what CBP [Customs and Border Protection] is up against, but as the Speaker of the House and member of the Arizona Legislature, it is important to verify how these children are being treated," said Speaker Tobin in a press release. "My fellow legislators want to know, and denying me access clearly demonstrates what is wrong with Washington."

Approximately 750 unaccompanied minors are being held at the facility. There have been reports of long holding times and no access to indoor plumbing.

Tobin and Gray did meet with Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, who had toured the makeshift facility on Monday. He assured them that showers, toilets, medicine and phones were available to the children.,

Updated 1 hour, 32 minutes ago.
Diplomat: Valley shelters cannot accept migrant kids from Nogales
By Martha Maurer
Originally published: Jun 11, 2014 - 2:47 pm

PHOENIX -- Slightly more than 1,000 unaccompanied minors spent the night at a makeshift holding center in Nogales, Ariz. on Tuesday.

According to the Guatemalan Consul General Jímena Diaz, 351 are minors from El Salvador, 380 from Guatemala, 342 from Honduras, seven from Ecuador, six from India, four from Nicaragua and one from Peru.

"These can be kids as young as 5 and 6 years old to 16," said Diaz.

The minors are not going to stay in the Nogales. Once they are processed at the facility, they are relocated to shelters across Arizona. Diaz said, in the Phoenix area, there are eight shelters that are at capacity and cannot take in any more kids.

"They are full," Diaz said, adding each shelter houses approximately 200 minors.

Diaz said upwards of 130 minors will be transported to shelters in Ventura, Calif. by Friday.

Diaz corroborated news originally given by Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino that more supplies have arrived in the Nogales facility over the last few days. The sentiment is not shared by Honorary Honduran Consul Tony Banegas, who said conditions are still dire for the immigrant children in Nogales.

Diaz does not know exactly how many kids from her home country are housed in local facilities.

As for the reasons children and adult migrants are crossing the border, Diaz believes it is a combination of factors, including unrest and economic instability in their home countries.

She said the Guatemalan government is running a campaign to improve schools and services for women and children who may be in at risk. She added climatological events are also causing havoc in Guatemala, making it difficult for citizens to make ends meet.

"We have a lot of storms and affect the position of the people," she said, though she could not provide specific data of the impact of the storms.

Another reason, according to Diaz, is what she often hears from mothers and kids apprehended by Border Patrol.

"They say the reasons are because they don't have another way to be with their families."

Not all of the minors currently housed in Nogales crossed the border in Texas, as thousands are currently. A memo Diaz gave to KTAR said 892 of the minors had been transferred from Texas and the rest were apprehended in Arizona. As for the kids taken in by border Patrol on the Arizona side, Diaz said smugglers play a big role in getting the minors over to the U.S.

"The smugglers come to the children to Sonora," she said. "At the border they tell the kids they have to walk to a [specific] point. At that point, Border Patrol will come for you."

Diaz said she had not been told of any minors being deported.

As for the role of the Guatemalan Consulate in providing financial assistance to care for the minors housed in Nogales, Diaz said they do not provide direct monies to the U.S. government. She said her country is working to create a fund to help provide services for the children.


Officials give Nogales shelter for immigrant children high marks
4 hours ago • By Perla Trevizo

Unaccompanied minors in Nogales
Number of children being held in the Nogales Placement Center as of June 9 by nationality:
380: Guatemala
351: El Salvador
342: Honduras
7: Ecuador
6: India
4: Nicaragua
1: Peru
Source: Guatemalan Consulate in Phoenix

The children being held in the Nogales Border Patrol station seem to be in good physical health, officials who visited the center said Tuesday.

"I was very impressed with the progress they've made," said Santa Cruz Sheriff Tony Estrada. "They are taking good care of these kids."

Nearly 1,100 children and youth who crossed the border illegally without parents or legal guardians are being held in a makeshift detention center in Nogales. Estrada said about 60 percent of them are males. Most of them are in the 15-17 age range, but there are some as young as four and teen mothers with their babies.

About 82 percent of them were apprehended by the Border Patrol in South Texas — a region that has seen the largest influx of children — and the rest from Arizona.

So far, more than 100 of the children have been transferred to an Office of Refugee Resettlement-contracted shelter, where officials seek to reunite them with relatives or parents already in the United States while their immigration cases are pending.

Jimena Díaz, consul of Guatemala in Phoenix, said on Friday another 100 to 130 will be transferred to a military base in Ventura County, California, one of several the Defense Department has made available to temporarily house the children. Another 300 are scheduled to leave Saturday, but she didn't know the destination. Under normal circumstances, Customs and Border Protection has to turn over the youth to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours, but due to the surge, the agency has run out of space.

The federal government has released little information about the transfer of the children and youth to Arizona. Details about what's happening are coming from consular officials from the Central American countries with the highest numbers — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — and more recently local and state government officials and non-profit representatives who are being allowed inside the center.

The Border Patrol refurbished the old Factory 2-U warehouse in the mid 2000s to quickly process Mexican nationals, but it closed several years ago as the traffic through the Tucson sector slowed.

The children are being served three meals a day and are eating in groups of 200, said Sean Carroll, a priest and executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, a binational organization that work on immigration issues.

The children and youth, separated by age group and gender, are sleeping on plastic cots, but Carroll said they were told 2,000 four-inch mattresses were expected to arrive Wednesday or today .

"Most looked good, but it's hard to know for sure how they are doing in other ways, psychologically and spiritually," he said. Visitors did not speak with the children.

Local churches and non-profits want to help, Carroll said, but the federal government has not set up a plan to coordinate the assistance.

"We are ready to help, but we need so direction to best meet the needs of the children," he said.


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