Nogales Placement Center tour revealing
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It took about an hour for nearly 40 reporters to tour the Nogales Placement Center where 900 Central American children who entered the country illegally are being held.
The tour was scheduled after pressure from some high level politicians and organizations who expressed concern about the way children might be treated.
Up to this point, members of the public and media were denied entry.
The Border Patrol conducted the tour and it appears no area was off limits.
But tThere were ground rules.
No video cameras were allowed, no recording devices and no talking to the children.
About three minutes of video was provided by. Fox News. It was taken before the tour began.
There were also photographs by the Associated Press.
We began the tour in the lobby of the Border Patrol offices where the ground rules were set and where we saw a map of the area we were going to tour in the 120,000 sq. ft. warehouse.
There are seven holding areas of various sizes depending on the need.
One holding area for children under 12 and another for mothers with infant children.
The rest held children by age and gender.
The largest held young boys ages 15 to 17.
All of the children are given a physical examination and immunization shots upon arrival.
The children are given exercise time in an outdoor recreation area. Boys on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Girls Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
They eat three meals a day plus snacks and water.
When it became apparent the children did not eat flour tortillas because it is not a staple in Central America, the menu was switched to corn tortillas,which is.
Large screen televisions are set up in the holding areas.
Each holding area is separated by chain link fence about12 feet high, topped with razor wire.
Border Patrol officials noted the razor wire is in place because the warehouse was used for adults before being converted for the children May 31st.
The children are put on a 24 hour cycle for showers. They have clean uniforms daily. The clothing they came into the country wearing are bagged and stored and will be given to them when they are transferred.
When the children shower they are supervised by adults.
The children also pass through metal detectors because some of them have been caught carrying pieces of metal which could be used as a weapon.
They sleep on green foam mattresses and use mylarblankets which can be cleaned.
There is a phone bank with 40 telephones so they can call relatives in the US or in their home country.
The Border Patrol would not say how long the children stay at the center on average before leaving.
The Border Patrol would only say the situation is fluid.
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