June 8, 2014
Angry about the federal government sending illegal aliens from Texas to Arizona, state officials say they are rushing federal supplies to a makeshift holding center in the southern part of Arizona that’s housing hundreds of children and is running low on the basics.
Gov. Jan Brewer’s spokesman, Andrew Wilder, said Friday that conditions at the holding center are so dire that federal officials have asked the state to immediately ship the medical supplies to the center in Nogales.
A Homeland Security Department official said about 700 children were sleeping on plastic cots Friday and about 2,000 mattresses have been ordered. Portable toilets and showers have been taken to the holding center — a warehouse that has not been used for detention in years.
Vendors are being contracted to provide meals, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, will provide counseling services and recreational activities.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no authorization to discuss the matter publicly, said the Nogales holding center opened for children because the Department of Health and Human Services had nowhere to turn.
“They became so overwhelmed and haven’t kept up with planning,” the official said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said the illegal aliens were mostly families from Central America fleeing extreme poverty and violence.
The Homeland Security official said the number of children at the warehouse was expected to double to around 1,400. The warehouse has a capacity of about 1,500.
The Arizona Daily Star reported Saturday that Jimena Diaz, consul general of Guatemala in Phoenix, visited the center Friday and said there were about 250 children from Guatemala, with the rest coming from El Salvador and Honduras. Teenage mothers with their children are also being detained separately, he said.
The station began housing children flown from south Texas on May 31. About 400 were scheduled to arrive Friday but, because of mechanical problems with the planes, only about 60 arrived, the Homeland Security official said. Saturday’s flights were canceled, also because of mechanical problems. There are flights scheduled through mid-June.
Federal authorities plan to use the Nogales facility as a station where the children will be vaccinated and checked medically. They will then be sent to facilities being set up in Ventura, Calif.; San Antonio; and Fort Sill, Okla.
The Homeland Security official said the children would be moved out of the Nogales site as soon as Health and Human Services Department finds places for them. But the official said: “As quickly as we move them out, we get more. We believe this is just a start.”
The children being held in Nogales are 17 and younger. The official estimated three of every four were at least 16.
I have a four step program that can solve this issue:
Step 1: Get a bunch of buses
Step 2: Put these people on the buses
Step 3: Drive the buses to Mexico
Step 4: Tell these people to get off the buses