Hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children sleep under foil blankets at a holding center in Nogales, Ariz., on Friday after being shipped to Arizona from Texas. / The Arizona Republic, courtesy of Jon Justice
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Attorney General's Office will soon inspect detention centers in southern Arizona, where hundreds of migrant children are being housed.
The federal government last Friday began sending hundreds of unaccompanied children caught crossing the border illegally in Texas to a holding center in Nogales, Ariz. According to Customs and Border Protection, in the past eight months, agents have apprehended about 47,000 unaccompanied minors who crossed the border into the U.S. illegally from Mexico.
At least 750 children were transported to a holding facility in Nogales last weekend.
On Wednesday, Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, told The Arizona Republic the agency is assembling an inspection team and hopes to "move forward immediately" with the inspections.
The agency secured an agreement early Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies to allow attorney general officers to inspect the Nogales facility "to ensure the health and well-being of the minors being held there."
According to Grisham, the chief law-enforcement officer in Arizona has "an inherent responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of people in Arizona. "
She said the Attorney General's Office has been talking with federal officials and continues to express concerns about the well-being of the children and attempting to obtain "authoritative information from the federal agencies in charge of this operation."
"Our office wants to ensure that all of the kids in this facility are receiving adequate and appropriate food, supervision, clothing, shelter and medical care," Grisham said. "Our reason for this is based on numerous reports that they have been woefully provided for in substandard conditions."
Grisham noted that federal agencies have not been transparent about the operation, saying Attorney General Tom Horne is seeking explanations and justifications about the operation.
The federal government plans to use the facility in Nogales as a way station, where the children will be vaccinated and checked medically. The children will then be flown to facilities being set up in Ventura, Calif., San Antonio and Fort Sill, Okla., according to the Associated Press.
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