Over the past few weeks, there have been hundreds of undocumented immigrant men, women and children transferred from Texas to Arizona. Apparently, federal officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that Border Patrol was overwhelmed with the number of immigrants and was unable to process them all. In order to take pressure off the agents in Texas, immigrants are being sent various communities throughout the southern half of the United States. This includes Tucson and Phoenix.
In addition to dropping off undocumented immigrants at bus stations in Tucson and Phoenix, unaccompanied minor children are also being housed at a warehouse in Nogales. Although conditions at the warehouse have not been fully revealed by federal officials, there are those that worry about the needs of these children.
U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva had planned on touring the Border Patrol Nogales Placement Center, but changed his plans after officials at the center refused to allow the rest of Grijalva's group in the facility. In a statement, Grijalva said that the “in-depth tour had been pre-approved last week for himself, along with congressional staffers from Rep. Ron Barber's office and state faith leaders, but when they showed up, officials told him only he and the staff could enter.”
Grijalva found that to be unacceptable and said that the whole purpose of the visit was to permit the media, as well as the general public to “get an impression from the group who is interested in the needs of the children rather than just from me.” He went on to add that more transparency would increase the “level of community support and confidence” for Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the work that they are doing. In addition, if the community had more information, people would be able to help fix any issues that may be considered to not be in the best interest of the children.
After the initial news of the situation in Nogales had passed, people then began asking the question as to why there has been such an increase in the number of immigrant children crossing the border into the United States without parents or guardians. While part of the increase may be because there are some people who think that children will not be deported, others believe that these children are trying to get away from gang violence that is prevalent in their home countries.
Recently, myfoxphoenix.com posted a story highlighting this issue. Kelley Blakslee worked in Honduras as a teacher and saw the violence for herself. Blakslee was unaware of the terrible violence when she first accepted her teaching position in San Pedro, Honduras. However, after she arrived, she saw drug and gang violence “on a daily basis.”
Blakslee said that her students came from wealthier families and feared kidnappings. She said the children would “arrive to school every day with armed guards.” She continued to talk about how Honduras is “surrounded by poverty” and understands why many families are willing to go to great lengths to travel to the U.S. and find a better way of life.
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