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Diplomat: Conditions dire in holding facility for unaccompanied immigrant children

A diplomat said conditions inside a facility filled with unaccompanied children who crossed the border illegally are far from livable.

The children are being housed in an old detention center that was reopened after a massive influx of immigrants from Central America caused an overflow at existing facilities.

“They have barbed wire; they have a plastic container,” Tony Banegas told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday. “That’s what children were in at night. They have a personal blanket that looks like foil paper.”

The Border Patrol has brought in mattresses and showers, but Banegas said conditions are still far from ideal.

“A lot of these children have not been able to take a bath in 12 or 13 days,” he said.

According to Banegas, thus far there are 936 unaccompanied migrant children being housed in Nogales.

Banegas said the goal each day is to place 40 to 60 children in a shelter to go on to be reunited with family. He said that 100 percent of the children in the detention center have some form of family in the U.S.

Although he criticized the facility, Banegas gave credit to officials who are dealing with the surge of people.

“To be fair I am very grateful to Border Patrol,” he said. “They weren’t prepared for this, none of us we’re prepared for this.”

Nogales Mayor, Arturo Garino was not critical of the facility when he spoke to Mac & Gaydos on Monday.

“The facility is well ventilated and well lit… for anyone else this would have been a nightmare but for Border Patrol they’re doing a good job,” said Garino.

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