Friday, June 27, 2014

AZMEX I3 27-6-14

AZMEX I3 27 JUN 2014

No timeframe set for processing kids in Nogales
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks at a news conference Wednesday at the Nogales Border Patrol Station.

Posted: Friday, June 27, 2014 7:53 am | Updated: 9:07 am, Fri Jun 27, 2014.
By Curt Prendergast
Nogales International

Nogales likely will remain a key part of a federal effort to deal with thousands of Central American migrant children caught trying to cross the border illegally in South Texas.

During a press conference Wednesday outside Border Patrol's Nogales Station, part of which has been converted into an impromptu processing facility, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did not provide a concrete answer to a question from a reporter about when the flow of minors to Nogales would end.
"We're going to deal with this influx," Johnson said. "I believe we will deal with this situation. But until we deal with it, we've got to continue to process these kids in a safe, lawful, and humane manner and Nogales is part of that solution."

A few minutes later, Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino warned of "a long summer" of more children arriving in the city. Federal officials had told him previously the flow of juvenile migrants to Nogales likely would end by September, but he said he has since been told "it might go longer than that."

He pointed to the roughly 500 Central American migrant children caught every day on the international border in South Texas who "end up in a processing center like this," he said.

About 140 children arrive at the Nogales station every day, with a similar number leaving daily after their immigration paperwork is processed, said Gov. Jan Brewer, who also toured the facility and met with federal officials Wednesday.

To deal with the flow of migrant children, a shelter in Tucson is being set up to house about 280 migrant children, she said. The "unsecure" shelter will allow the children to "come and go as they wish."
In order to resolve the situation, Brewer called on the federal government to "do its job" and secure the border.

"We have not sent a strong message to these countries that our borders are closed. We need a federal government to step up and secure the border. It's the problem that we have been facing for years now," she said.

"Until that happens, unfortunately, we're going to continue to see this kind of situation," she said.
As federal authorities search for a way to stop the flow of Central American children, Johnson said he is going to Guatemala on July 8 to discuss options for shutting down the "pipeline" of child migration to South Texas.

Warning signs
Brewer also questioned when federal authorities first became aware of the coming wave of Central American migrant children, noting a request from the federal government for a contractor to provide transportation services for unaccompanied minors "way back in January."

"They were not honest or forthright with us that this all of a sudden started because they were looking for a solution in January before they started transporting them to Arizona and then transporting them to here in Nogales and to Tucson and to Phoenix," she said.

The Jan. 29 request posted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the federal government's Federal Business Opportunities website was for information from contractors about providing transportation for unaccompanied migrant children from ICE custody to Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters located across the country.

The request proposes a one-year contract with an option for four additional years to transport an estimated 65,000 unaccompanied minors. The request does not clarify whether that number is for the initial year or for the total five years. An information request to ICE was not immediately answered Thursday.
Current estimates from DHS put the number of migrant children caught in South Texas at about 52,000 since October.

The contractor would have to be able to transport 25 percent of the minors by ground, 25 percent by ICE charter, and the remainder by commercial air transport.


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