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Ariz. speaker, majority whip denied access to center in Nogales

PHOENIX — Two Arizona representatives were denied access Wednesday to the detention center in Nogales where unaccompanied minors are being held.

House Speaker Andy Tobin and Majority Whip Rick Gray drove down to the center in Nogales but were then stopped by Border Patrol and refused entry.

The federal agency told the men they had to give a 72-hour notice. Tobin mentioned that Mesa Mayor Scott Smith was granted access earlier that morning.

“I understand what CBP [Customs and Border Protection] is up against, but as the Speaker of the House and member of the Arizona Legislature, it is important to verify how these children are being treated,” said Speaker Tobin in a press release. “My fellow legislators want to know, and denying me access clearly demonstrates what is wrong with Washington.”

Approximately 750 unaccompanied minors are being held at the facility. There have been reports of long holding times and no access to indoor plumbing.

Tobin and Gray did meet with Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, who had toured the makeshift facility on Monday. He assured them that showers, toilets, medicine and phones were available to the children.