Recently, undocumented immigrants were being transferred from Texas to Arizona because Texas was getting overwhelmed with the amount of immigrants attempting to the cross the border in that area. The number was so high that Texas was actually dropping these immigrants off, including some unaccompanied minors, at bus stations in Phoenix and Tucson with not much more than the clothes on their backs.
Now, an even more urgent concern has come up. According to a report posted on huffingtonpost.com, items such as mattresses, portable toilets and showers were shipped to Nogales in order to help the 700 unaccompanied immigrant minors who are spending their nights on plastic cots at a large warehouse. In total, there have been approximately 2,000 mattresses sent to this warehouse that has not been used as a shelter for years.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, has stated that the situation at the shelter is “so dire that federal officials have asked the state to immediately ship medical supplies to the center in Nogales.”
One Homeland Security official said that immigrant families were being flown from Texas and then dropped off in Arizona and told to report to an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) office within 15 days. According to ICE personnel, these families were mostly from Central America and hoped to come to the U.S. in order to escape “extreme poverty and violence.” This official spoke with anonymity, because there was no authorization for the officer to speak about the situation publicly. The officer went on to say that the warehouse opened “for unaccompanied migrant children because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had nowhere to turn. They became so overwhelmed and haven't kept up with planning.”
While the immigrants are being housed at this shelter, vendors will be contracted to provide meals. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be offering both counseling services and recreational activities. The warehouse has a capacity of 1,500. Those involved are expecting the number of children at the location to rise to 1,400.
Jimena Díaz, consul general of Guatemala in Phoenix, said that when he visited the shelter on June 6, there were approximately 250 children from Guatemala there and the rest were from El Salvador and Honduras. During an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, Díaz that the children were being separated into groups, based on age and gender. He said that the majority of these children were between 15 and 17, but there were some much younger.
As it stands now, the Nogales warehouse is being used as a way station. Here, the children will be checked by medical personnel and vaccinated. After that, they will be transferred to facilities in Ventura, CA, San Antonio, TX, and Fort Sill, OK. According to a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Arizona, the agency “is prepared to and expects to continue processing unaccompanied children from South Texas.”
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