Jeh Johnson, the director of U.S. Homeland Security, will be in Nogales Wednesday to visit the warehouse where hundreds of immigrant children are being held. (Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
Inside the Nogales warehouse where hundreds of children are being held after crossing the border alone. (Source: AP/Donald E. King)
NOGALES, AZ (CBS5) -
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer got a first-hand look at the 120,000 square-foot warehouse housing some 900 undocumented, unaccompanied minors who have been taken into custody by Border Patrol agents.
Both officials emerged from their hour-long tour of the facility with the same impression. They spoke separately to a slew of reporters gathered outside the facility. Johnson went first. It wasn't until he said his goodbyes to Brewer and left the area, that the governor took to the podium.
"I have to say that the kids, while this is not an ideal situation, look as if they're being well taken care of under the circumstances," Johnson said. "Gov. Brewer and I spoke to a number of them, ourselves, to hear their stories, to understand why they are here and the dangers of the journey that they took."
Brewer chimed in and said, "The Border Patrol is doing a fantastic job to the best of their capabilities to maintain the children that are here. They are clean, they are getting fed, they're getting medical attention."
But that's about where the federal official and Arizona's leader ended their similar views on the influx of thousands of undocumented juveniles flooding the United States from Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Brewer indirectly blasted Johnson by repeating her familiar mantra that the federal government must secure the border.
"Dang it. The federal government has a job to do!" Brewer went on to say, "Are the feds going to continue down this path pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars into this effort or are they going to secure our border and we can move on to deal with the issue that we have in hand? It's very disappointing."
When he addressed the media, Johnson said he has brought in resources from all parts of the country to help with the Nogales center and to assure Arizona's border continues to be protected.
In turn, when Brewer had her turn she responded with, "They brought in about 140 additional Border Patrol. I indicated at that point and time I thought it might have been a good idea to maybe have those border patrol here earlier in an effort to secure our border rather than have them here to take care of these children in a humanitarian manner."
Johnson reiterated his message meant directly to the parents of these children - don't send your kids to the United States.
"This journey is a dangerous one," Johnson said. "And at the end of it there's no free pass. There are no permisos for children. For your children who come to the United States the journey from Central America into south Texas is over 1,000 miles long. It is hot. It is treacherous and you're placing your child in the hands of a criminal smuggling organization."
Brewer said she peppered Johnson with a lot of questions, like how long they were going to keep sending these kids to Arizona; how the kids will be dispersed throughout the country; and how many would be staying in Arizona. All questions to which Brewer said she received no answers.
Johnson indicated the U.S. is in discussions with the Central American governments to engage them in combating this stream of migration. He said he believes it is a problem that will be solved.
"We're going to deal with this influx. I believe we're going to deal with this situation. But until we deal with it we've got to continue to process these kids in a safe, lawful and humane manner. And Nogales is part of that solution," said Johnson.
Brewer implied there was no end in sight.
Johnson indicated the Nogales facility would be up and running through the summer.
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UPDATEHomeland chief: Nogales migrant warehouse to remain openMore>>
Tuesday, November 11 2014 3:01 PM EST2014-11-11 20:01:08 GMT
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