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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ariz. Mayor Worries About New Wave Of Child Migrants

A child on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border fence looks into Arizona during a special 'Mass on the Border' on April 1, 2014 in Nogales, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images)

A child on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border fence looks into Nogales, Arizona, during a special ‘Mass on the Border’ on April 1, 2014. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden heads to Guatemala this week to meet with leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador about the wave of unaccompanied children coming across the U.S. Mexico border from those Central American countries.

Border patrol agents are finding children as young as 4, with notes pinned on their clothing with instructions on how to contact relatives in the U.S.

In the past week, about 1,000 children have been sent to live at holding facility in Nogales, Arizona. Arturo Garino, mayor of Nogales, wonders who is responsible for the welfare of these children.

Garino tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that unaccompanied children should not be deported if there’s no one to receive them.

Interview Highlights: Arturo Garino

On the children at the holding facility

“These children are traveling by themselves. There are children under 4 years old. I had an opportunity to talk to the children when I was there. I talked to two little girls ranging maybe 9 and 10 years old, that were looking at me a lot. I approached them and asked if they were doing okay they said yes, but that they felt sad. Estoy triste. I said why? I thought that maybe something had happened there. They said no, that they were sad because they missed their parents. Were their parents here in their country of origin or here in the United States? I don’t know.”

On having heard the number of children may exceed 70,000 by the year’s end

“This is a planned exodus of children from those countries thinking that they are going to be able have an opportunity here in the United States to stay here. That is why I think we as a government and Congress should go and find out exactly what happening over there. Because if something is happening and somebody is informing these children or these parents that if they send their child to the United States they’re going to become U.S. citizens or get an opportunity to stay here, we need to address that.”

On how to move forward

“I don’t think that children should be deported at this age back to their countries if there is nobody over there to receive them. Are we going to be responsible as the United States for the welfare of these children? Those are my concerns right now. I want to make sure that the children are okay. They’re here now. I don’t want to create a bigger problem. We should find a solution for this.”




Vice President Joe Biden heads to Guatemala this week to meet with leaders of that country as well as Honduras and El Salvador about the wave of unaccompanied children coming from those countries through Mexico and across the U.S. border. Patrol agents are finding children as young as four years old with notes pinned on their clothing with instructions on how to contact relatives in the U.S. And photos of their detention in overcrowded border patrol facilities have made headlines. In just the past week, about 1,000 children have been sent to live in a warehouse in Nogales, Arizona that has been called substandard. Arturo Garino is mayor of Nogales. He joins us via Skype. Mayor, welcome back to HERE AND NOW.

ARTURO GARINO: Thank you very much for having me.

HOBSON: Well, journalists have not been allowed into this warehouse. You have been to visit the children there. Describe what it's like.

GARINO: Well, what it is - it's actually the border patrol station and very large building. I want to save section where the children are at very close to -- the same 100,000 square feet. It's been divided in sections. Section for girls under 12. And in another section for boys under 12. And they have the other section for boys and girls divided also from 12 to 17. Have an area where they have a medical services to check the children and also I think they vaccinate them if need be. They also have two areas that are separated for cafeteria like tables and chairs for them to eat. They can eat at about 250 at one time both the one time boys and girls. And they have portable bathrooms. With running water. And also portable showers in a laundromat that was broad and also portable. And logistically to tell you the truth it would be a task for anybody to try to get something like that going. Through something.

HOBSON: Comma instead of the conditions there are substandard. Using their substandard?

GARINO: Not really. Know when I visited the first time was on Monday this past week. That was the beginning. And yesterday receiving children on Saturday right before that Monday. And have been that fast of a time when I visited a very good opportunity for them to process the children. One thing that I heard at the time that it was a detention center which actually is not. It's a processing center. And the children are being processed to be able to transport on to other locations. I believe there are three military bases one out for no one in Texas and the other when Oklahoma. But it is a very good place. And I know that there are some room for improvement. Right now as time goes on a lot better. Air more efficient and they are doing their job as efficient as possible. What happened to Nogales and will support a patrol station in such a quick notice.

HOBSON: The more a sense of why that happened -- of why there are so many unaccompanied and undocumented children coming across the border?

GARINO: You know I asked those questions and people don't know exactly what's happening in their countries of origin. My concern was that if you live in Central America you still have to travel all the country of Mexico to get to Texas. So that's another issue that a little concerned his house that happening and why is Mexico allowing it to happen? These children are traveling by themselves. As children under four years old. I had an opportunity children was there to I talked to two little girls ranging maybe nine in 10 years old they were looking at me a lot and I approached him and I said they were doing okay and they said yes. But they felt sad. And I said why? I thought maybe something could happen there. And he said no I'm sad because I miss my parents. So are their parents still in their country of origin or nature in the United States? That I don't know. I did not want to continue the talking to the girls for the reason is that you know it was pretty sad for me. I'm a father and a grandfather. And I couldn't understand how a child 10 years old to travel that Lane -- land and how dangerous it could be free to an adult let alone a child. Is pretty sad.

HOBSON: You don't have any better sense of why there are so many coming over right now.

GARINO: Know. Not really. I think the best what to get that -- I think we need to get our Congress and our federal government to go to these countries and send a committee or something to find out exactly what's happening. Because I have heard our numbers exceeding over 70,000 by the end of the year.

HOBSON: As you know something is country think that the reason is because they expect that the immigration policies are going to be lax. Border protection is going to be lax. And they think of the children may qualify for a program that protects them called deferred action for childhood arrivals. They don't. But unlike Mexican children the US is not going to immediately deport children from Central America.

GARINO: Yes. I've heard of that two because this is one of the questions I asked some friends here at the state. And legislators that came to visit me last. I think that's the case and is a plan exodus of children from those countries thinking that they are going to be able to get an opportunity here in the United States of staying here. That's week that we as a man and a Congress should go and find out exactly what's happening over there because of something's happening in some forming these children in these parents that if they send their child to the United States are going to become US citizens or get an opportunity to stay here we need to address that. And myself I believe immigration reform to a certain extent but not in this fashion. I would rather have things happen legally through the border.

HOBSON: Closely you think that US officials to go down to Guatemala and figure out what's going on. In this country? We be with the kids?

GARINO: I myself feel that I don't think children should be deported at this age back to their country there's nobody there to receive them or we going to be responsible of the United States for the welfare of these children. So those are my concerns right now. I want to make sure children are okay. They are here now. We should not create bigger problem. We should find a way -- a solution for this. And is it here within our country or that there with their country? By these consults from these three country which the children to talk to them whenever they want to because the phone bank that they happen a number of the three consulates. But I don't think we should blame this on the United States just because they are coming to the United States. I know where you know the land of opportunity in the land of immigrants but we also have to be very careful with how we treat these things in the center with children. This is the key thing for. The United States is really or immigration reform were constantly and security is really going to deal with this renown.

HOBSON: Is the mayor of no galas Arizona. Thank you so much for joining us again.

GARINO: Thank you very much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Andrea Devine

    Find a good foster home for each and every one, that will try to establish communication with their families.

    • Rick

      You want to volunteer?

    • Nzeadibe

      Because the current Foster home system is helping the kids in it already so much.

    • TrainedHistorian

      Beyond irresponsible. Foster care, and kids– including teens–being on their own without parental care causes severe psychological problems. In some cases (abusive parents) it cannot be helped, but to choose foster care simply out of economic motives (the main reasons low-skilled Central Americans are sending their unaccompanied minors heres) is irresponsible, and ordinary American should not aid and abet this with our politicians’ incredibly irresponsible policies of winking at illegal immigration.

      The problem in a nutshell: everyone’s very glad to volunteer someone else’s house or country to take care of children that they don’t want to take care of. themselves. We need to send the message: don’t come illegally because we will enforce laws against it and above all do NOT send your kids unaccompanied here. We should pass a law NOW that any foreign minor sent to the US without adults parents or guardians will never be legalized, ever. That will end the current incentive.our politicians created with DACA, the Dream Act and irresponsible rhetoric–”we’re all human”–that they will not enforce any meaningful limitation on immigration here.

  • Rick

    This makes me furious! Obama and his administration are showing complete disregard for the rule of law. His job is to enforce the law and he’s doing the opposite. These people are invading our country and it’s illegal! I don’t care how old they are! I thought all the illegals “came here to work”? What kind of work does a 3 year old do? Who is going to pay to house, feed, clothe, educate, and provide medical care for these children? We already have a financial crisis in this country and can’t afford to take on more debt!
    I don’t understand why we can’t put these children on a bus and send them back to their home countries. Make arrangements with their governments about where they will be dropped off at. Make it VERY CLEAR that we will enforce the law and no one will be allowed into our country illegally! They would stop coming right away if we had a legitimate government that would do what I just described.
    We need to send the National Guard to the border RIGHT NOW! CLOSE THE BORDER! AMNESTY FOR NO ONE!

    • Pleiades

      This is a result of the potential passage of Immigration reform and/or the Dream Act. The parents that sent these childfren are looking for an “anchor” in our immigration system to provide an inlet for them to come here.

      The only action that should be taken is “deport, deport, deport”. it needs to be made very clear that our nation will not tolerate such actions. They travelled through Mexico without the Mexican Immigration Police stopping them, so obviously, someone helped them across the border. Let them walk back to their Central American nations. I’ll bet the Mexican authorities will interven then.

  • Cacimo

    Garino was dishonest during the interview. It had to be dragged out of him that these kids are coming because they understand they will not be sent home. They flag down border agents because they know they will be not returned to their country of origin. Start sending them back and they will stop coming. Not that hard to figure out.

  • Dave Francis


    you are outraged with Obama running the country on his own terms then do
    something about it. Unite with the National Tea Party—the one group of
    hardworking Americans who passionately love this sovereign country and will do
    anything to save it from a socialist quagmire. The TEA PARTY of average
    citizens has the ability to put intense pressure on Congress and our lawmakers
    and revolve their opinion… but only with your assistance. Let’s flood them
    with letters, faxes, emails and phone calls protest, rallies and appearing in
    political offices. We can create an avalanche of support with your aid and strategically
    place our people in DC to fight for our cause. Americans are growing very
    agitated and angrier every day that President Obama has desecrated the office
    of the President of the United States.

    you want us to keep fighting for what our Founding Fathers believed in which is
    for the Constitution they set forth…for our freedom, liberty and justice? If
    you believe in America then believe in the
    Tea Party and support our efforts. We count on America’s grassroots to
    support our vast efforts. His latest suicide action for the Democrats, is a
    willingness to flood our nation with minors, of all ages and most unaccompanied
    by parents. The main magnet is jobs, but if “IF” employers were held
    accountable with prison without parole, things would be amazingly different?
    Then rather than E-Verify a national mandated, digital ID card would END
    illegal immigration on a vast scale. THAT’S WHY NOT STOPPING ILLEGAL
    nightmare for taxpayers with millions still jobless and unable to put food on
    their table.

    now there is chaos on the border as over 20,000 and potential more have entered
    the United States and not seeking to
    hide from the U.S. Border Patrol, but actively waiting to get caught. THANKS TO
    BE TURNED AWAY, UNDER KING OBAMAS EDICT. With thousands of children coming without
    supervision, including pregnant women who well aware under the law that once
    they enter American jurisdiction, that unfortunately taxpayers will cover the
    hospital fees and that a child born in the US, get automatic citizenship.
    Additionally the parents of these offspring are part of the plot, to thrust
    their children around immigration law, specifically chain migration.

    The big mouth of Obama has “orchestrated” this
    immigration mess with no end in sight. Already the welfare safety-net is
    already overwhelmed by millions of citizens; millions of freeloaders already
    leeching because of the lax system and thousands more collecting food stamps,
    Medicaid, and many programs which are handed out to foreign nationals without
    any checking. Anything to undermine Congress mandates is Obama’s illicit game,
    even in releasing 36.000 of criminal aliens on America’s streets, with no
    consideration that many were murderers.

    We need people in Congress who are not
    going to sell out or to bow down to Special Interests, to corporate cronies or
    the big trade unions, playing the same old continuous record of the Republican
    elite. All
    you have to do is don’t vote Democrat; don’t vote Republican; when you go to
    the ballot box make your decision on who will balance the federal and state
    budgets, Remove the Affordable Care Act, If you want change: removal of illegal aliens; Abolishment
    of the IRS; introduce a fair or consumption tax, reduction in government
    itself; Returning the Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency
    to State control. Building the Keystone pipeline and making America self-sufficient in Energy and not
    dependent on foreign oil, gas. Reduce to a minimum of Regulations for growing
    businesses. Make corporate welfare a thing of the past. Use the Tea Party
    agenda of Ron Paul, The One Cent Solution is
    beautifully simple: If the government cuts one cent out of every dollar of its
    total spending (excluding interest payments) each year for five years, and then
    caps overall federal spending at 18 percent of national income from then on, we
    can: Reduce federal spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years. Balance the budget
    by 2019.


    These are issues the TEA PARTY has in mind
    and will guarantee if they climb into the front seat of the Senate and House in

  • Barasha

    I wonder if you heartless bastards would be chanting Deport deport deport if these kids were fair skinned blondes from some place you like. They are refugees not “illegals” as you so quaintly put it.

    • Pleiades

      Yes, we would, because these children are not “refugees” just as they would not be “refugees” if their parents brought them in our borders by wading the Rio Bravo.

      I would suggest you take few minutes to really search how the information about a potential “Dream Act” here in the US has affected migration patterns. You will see that is where the migration begins, and it should end with the return of each of thses illegals to there home nation.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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