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Southwest Key reportedly under investigation by federal government

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

PHOENIX — The nonprofit organization that is operating shelters for migrant children, including some in Arizona, is reportedly facing a federal investigation.

The Justice Department is investigating whether or not Southwest Key misused federal funds, according to The New York Times. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Texas and the FBI also are reportedly involved in the investigation.

Southwest Key is based in Austin. It operates nearly two dozen shelters in Texas, Arizona and California for migrant children who came to the U.S. without a parent or guardian or who were separated from their families at the border.

“We have not yet been contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s office or the FBI, so it’s a bit difficult to comment at this point,” Jeff Eller, a spokesman for Southwest Key, said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“We have a policy of working with any and all investigations and we will do so in this case if it happens,” he added.

The federal investigation comes several weeks after The New York Times raised questions about possible misuse of federal grants by Southwest Key.

It also comes several months after the Arizona Department of Health Services forced two of the 13 Southwest Key facilities operating in Arizona to close due to abuse allegations. The rest were forced to stop accepting new minors after missing a deadline for employee background checks.

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