PHOENIX — An Arizona state representative thinks Gov. Jan Brewer should travel to Nogales, but not on vacation.
Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon said Brewer should take a look a look at the U.S. Border Patrol Youth Detention Center where unaccompanied minors from south of the border are being held.
“The state of Arizona has a moral responsibility for any child that comes into our state, no matter how they get here,” said Gabaldon. “I think it would be good for Gov. Brewer to visit.”
The makeshift shelter is an old commercial warehouse that was converted into a detention center in the 2000s. It was closed in 2009, but reopened last week because of the increase in new youth cases.
Gabaldon and two other Democratic state lawmakers, Rep. Stefanie Mach and Rep. Demion Clinco, toured the facility on Sunday.
Gaboldon said that there are portable toilets there and additional bathrooms, temporary shower trailers and washing machine facilities were being installed.
“It was a swamp cooler and a very hot day,” Gaboldon said. “It was a little bit warm, but not uncomfortable, and the area looked very clean.”
She said it was clear to all three legislators that Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement officials were working to improve the conditions and have the goal of transferring the children to longer term facilities within 72 hours.
Gabaldon didn’t speak with any of the young people, but she did see them.
“The majority of them were male, but we did see some females,” she said. “They looked very scared to me. It was just a very sad situation.”
Brewer’s office said, as of now, she has no plans to travel to Nogales.