Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson toured the Nogales facility where hundreds of undocumented immigrant children are staying while they are being processed. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joined Sec. Johnson and others at the facility and held a press conference after the tour and after Sec. Johnson had made some comments. Sec. Johnson did not stay to hear Gov. Brewer's statements.
After seeing the conditions that the children were in at the Nogales facility, Gov. Brewer said that “as a mother it broke her heart to see the plight of [undocumented] children, and that she blamed the federal government for failing.” As she sees it, the federal government did not send a proper message alerting other countries that the “U.S. border was closed.”
It's no secret that Gov. Brewer is often dissatisfied with the Obama administration and it's policies. There is probably no better example of this than the subject of immigration reform. As she was speaking, she commented on how hard it is for her to know that parents put their children in situations that can be so dangerous. In addition, she noted that the Nogales facility has been processing children at a rate of 140 per day. She said after their release, they reunite with family members in the U.S. who are also undocumented and then “blend into society.”
President Obama has declared the high number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross into the U.S. without documentation is an “urgent humanitarian crisis.” During his comments, Sec. Johnson reminded those in attendance that the president's 2012 policy to permit temporary relief from deportation to certain undocumented young people will not cover those children who are currently being held in the Nogales facility. Many believe that there is a misconception among parents in some countries that these children would be permitted to stay under that policy and that is why so many have been making their way to the U.S. in recent months. “We will stem the tide and find a solution to this problem, but until we do, we will deal with their kids in a safe, lawful and humane way," Sec. Johnson said.
Sec. Johnson, like Gov. Brewer, spoke about the conditions inside the facility and what these children went through while traveling to the U.S. “The journey from Central America into south Texas is over a thousand miles long. It is hot. It is treacherous and you are placing your child in the hands of a criminal smuggling organization. It is not safe."
Sec. Johnson continued to refuse to answer the question as to “how many children are actually appearing in immigration court.” He was also unable to provide the press with any data on how many “single parents with at least one child who have been released and given notices to appear at an immigration office, or whether they were reporting as directed.”
When it comes to unaccompanied, undocumented children, they are permitted to stay with family members in the U.S. until they can appear before an immigration judge. This process can take months or longer.
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