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home : opinions : editorials January 24, 2015

6/11/2014 9:38:00 AM
Editorial: Feds dumping on AZ, making us an immigrant waystation

News over the past few weeks that the federal government is sending immigrants who are in the country illegally from Texas to Arizona has the state up in arms.

In response, the government said it would send humanitarian aid to a holding center in Nogales in the southern part of the state where immigrant children are housed.

According to the Associated Press, Homeland Security started flying immigrants to Arizona from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last month after the number of immigrants, including more than 48,000 children traveling on their own, overwhelmed the Border Patrol there. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has said the immigrants were mostly families from Central America. They were flown from Texas, released in Arizona, and told to report to an ICE office near where they were traveling within 15 days.

Gov. Jan Brewer's spokesman Andrew Wilder said conditions at the holding center "are so dire" that federal authorities have asked the state to immediately send medical supplies to the center.

Federal authorities reportedly plan to use the Nogales facility as a way 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, Texas, and Fort Sill, Okla.

Early Friday evening, the governor's office released a statement, reiterating that she had written a letter to President Obama expressing her outrage at this "disturbing and inhumane policy, and asked the him a lot of questions, including why the state had not been notified in advance that such an operation was in progress.

The governor's statement also said the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs reported that more than 1,000 unaccompanied children are expected to arrive in Arizona this weekend, including 432 that were to be transported Friday, and another 734 Saturday and Sunday. This is in addition to, not inclusive of, adults and families, for which numbers have not been provided, the governor's news release stated.

In a statement Friday, AP reported, Homeland Security officials said, "appropriate custody determinations will be made on a case by case basis" for migrants apprehended in South Texas. The department declined to comment on the reports that the program of flying migrant families to Arizona was being halted.

It would appear that Gov. Brewer is quite right in expressing her anger. Arizona is not getting straight answers from Washington about a situation that affects the state and that housing untold numbers of people in some kind of "holding center" is outrageous and inhumane. One can only imagine the conditions of a building trying to accommodate that many people and provide for them properly.

It is quite curious, too, why we have to take on a problem that is "overwhelming" the Border Patrol in Texas. This situation fails the smell test miserably.

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