Arizona doesn’t want immigrants
TUCSON, Arizona (AP) – The Obama administration came under increasing pressure today from Arizona politicians over its immigration policies as hundreds of immigrant children caught crossing the border illegally are being sent to the state at a converted warehouse in Nogales.
Attorney General Tom Horne threatened legal action today against the government. Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake demanded that Customs and Border Protection allow reporters into the Nogales facility.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has also been highly critical of the policy and demanded that the government stop sending children to the state.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske addressed some of the criticism at a news conference in Washington, saying children are being treated humanely and that there is no free pass for young children or anyone else caught trying to cross the border.
“I have been watching them (Border Patrol agents) do absolutely heroic efforts,” Kerlikowske said. “Not only rescuing children but taking care of them, way beyond some of the skill sets. They are doing everything from making formula to bringing in their own children’s clothing to taking care of these kids in a multitude of ways.”
In a letter to Johnson, Horne demanded the agency immediately stop transferring adult migrants and families from Texas to Arizona. He also asked for the Department of Homeland Security to provide the total number of immigrants sent to Arizona and what steps border agents took to ensure they were healthy and lacking a criminal record.
The U.S. has seen a huge surge in immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossing the border into Texas, driven in part by violence in their homeland.
More than 47 000 mostly Central American unaccompanied children have been caught illegally crossing the Mexican border into Texas since October. That’s left border agents in Texas overwhelmed and unable to process so many children.
Within the last week, more than 1 000 of them have been transferred to a warehouse in Nogales, where they are being processed before being sent to shelters in various states and then reunited with family members.