Hundreds of migrant children held at Border Patrol complex in Nogales

Hundreds of migrant children held at Border Patrol complex in Nogales

NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Hundreds of migrant children spent the night at the Border Patrol facility in Nogales Friday night.  They are Central American children who were apprehended by border agents while trying to cross the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas.

Earlier this week, Tucson News Now reported that hundreds of immigrants were being flown into Tucson and Phoenix by the Department of Homeland security because the facilities in Texas are overcrowded.

"This is clearly a humanitarian crisis and this is clearly a military style response to that crisis," said Daniel Wilson, a volunteer with the migrant aid group Casa Mariposa.

The volunteers have been stationed at the Greyhound bus station in Tucson greeting immigrant women and children as they are dropped off there.

Volunteers are supplying them with basic needs such as water, baby blankets, electrolyte drinks, and helping them buy bus tickets to cities where they have family.

"We're seeing kids as young as 8 months, and as old as 17," Wilson said.

Several Nogales fire trucks were seen leaving the Nogales property.

According to the Nogales International newspaper, firefighters have reported seeing hundreds of children inside the facility, one firefighter estimated seeing more than 600 juveniles in the facility.

Sources tell Tucson News Now planes full of immigrants have been flying into Tucson all week, and several more planes are expected to arrive this weekend.
Casa Mariposa volunteers said the migrants left Tucson within 24-48 hours.  They were headed all over the United States, wherever they had family.

"It just shows a clear sign to how dysfunctional our immigration system is," Wilson said. "Why do they need to be housing so many children who have parents, who have people that want to take care of them?"

Customs and Border Protection officials sent us a statement on Friday saying:

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Tucson Sector is assisting with the processing of apprehended immigrants, many of whom are unaccompanied juveniles, apprehended in South Texas.  Upon completion of CBP processing, CBP is transferring certain individuals to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), where appropriate custody determinations will be made on a case by case basis, prioritizing national security and public safety.

Casa Mariposa volunteers said they planned to continue helping immigrants dropped off in Tucson.  They have opened up a collections center in partnership with Catholic Community Services. 

Donations can be dropped off at the north entrance of the building located at 140 W. Speedway from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteers said they are in need of children's blankets, bottled water, Pedialyte drinks, clean sweaters and sweatshirts, cup noodles, plastic cutlery, toothbrushes, toothpaste, diapers for ages infant to 2, and travel bags.

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