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Arizonans to protest immigrant children being dropped off in Oracle

PHOENIX — Hundreds of protestors are planning to gather in Oracle, Ariz., with the intention of preventing busloads of Latin American children from being unloaded at the Sycamore Canyon Academy.

A statement from Sycamore Canyon, a boys boarding ranch, confirms the federal government has made arrangements to temporarily house the unaccompanied minors in the southern Arizona town.

“Sycamore Canyon Academy, at the urgent request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), will provide safe and temporary care to a small number of the unaccompanied youth from Central and South America,” the statement said. “These children will be temporarily placed at the campus by the ORR until they can be properly processed and placed with an appropriate sponsor or repatriated to their home country. Sycamore Canyon Academy is working closely with the federal refugee program and appreciates the support we have received for this humanitarian effort.

“Sycamore Canyon Academy is not taking a position on the immigration debate in any way. We believe it is for others to decide. Our mission is to improve the lives of youth, and we will continue to fulfill our mission by focusing on our work with children.”

Some of Oracle locals are not happy with their town’s facilities being used to house illegal immigrant children.

“We will turn the buses around. They will not get through us,” said resident Ron Thompson. “We are not willing to accept this. It’s an illegal act by the federal government — the Obama Administration to be specific. These are illegal people and they should be deported.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has ordered a large police presence outside of the facility, and deputies have been given orders to not allow protestors to block traffic.

Many of those who plan to demonstrate say they will risk arrest to make sure the government doesn’t succeed in dropping the children off in Oracle.