Politics

Unhealthy Living Conditions For Immigrant Children Held At Arizona Border Facility

| by Jared Keever

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is criticizing the Obama administration for creating an unhealthy living situation for immigrant children in her state. 

Brewer complained on Friday that federal officials are “dumping” the unaccompanied children of illegal immigrants at a holding facility in Nogales, Arizona, according to News With Views. Reports have since surfaced that the detention center has become overrun with detainees, creating unhealthy living conditions that concern many officials.

Border Patrol officials decided last week to transport immigrants from the overcrowded Texas facilities to the one in Arizona

Brewer contends that the Obama administration has purposely left the border open for illegal immigrants to enter the country and has thus created the overcrowding problem.

“This is a crisis of the federal government’s creation, and the fact that the border remains [sic] unsecure – now apparently intentionally — while this operation continues full-steam ahead is deplorable,” Brewer said in a statement.

“I am disturbed and outraged that President Obama’s administration continues to implement this dangerous and inhumane policy,” the statement continued.

The Associated Press reports that many being held in Nogales have been forced to sleep on plastic cots and that the facility is little more than a warehouse that has not been used to house detainees for a number of years. 

Officials in Nogales are scrambling to procure mattresses, portable toilets and showers to improve living conditions. 

One anonymous Homeland Security official said other officials at the facility were caught off-guard by the decision to move the children there. 

"They became so overwhelmed and haven't kept up with planning," the official said.

Tony Banegas, consul of Honduras to Arizona, told KPHO-TV that conditions were pretty dire in Nogales and that many of the children were suffering from health problems and complaining about the food. As of Sunday it was believed that there were roughly 1,000 children at the facility and Banegas said about 236 of those were Hondurans.

"There are some children wearing masks. A few complained to me of chest pains being out in the cold for so long," Banegas said.

He did admit that conditions were slowly improving but the situation remains uncomfortable for the children.

"What happened today is they added four showers. Some of the girls were able to take their first shower in 10 days. They're planning to build 60 in the next few days,” Banegas said Tuesday, adding that food continued to be an issue.

“This morning they switched to burritos, but they complained the eggs were cold. They couldn't eat them and even made them sick. They complained they had a burrito but had to throw it in the trash," Banegas said.

The fate of the children is unclear. The Homeland Security official said only their parents could legally take custody of them if the federal government listed them as eligible for release.

Sources: News With Views, Associated Press, KPHO-TV