Consulates meet with migrant children held in Nogales - Tucson News Now

Consulates meet with migrant children held in Nogales

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NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The conditions for more than 700 children at a Border Patrol facility in Nogales are not the best, but they're not the worst, according to Tony Banegas, Honduran Consulate for Arizona.

The official said he spent Saturday meeting with children from his native country, as did the consulates for El Salvador and Guatemala. He said agents inside the facility are able to process about 20 – 30 children each day.

"They're doing the best they can with what they have," said Banegas. "There's a floor with cots and air mattresses."

Trucks hauled in more resources, including portable bathrooms and showers. Banegas said a representative from FEMA and health officials were on site Saturday to evaluate the situation.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said he has not requested a tour of the facility yet, but he has faith that the Border Patrol is doing everything it can to improve the situation for so many children, ages 1 to 16 years old.

"I have all the faith in the world that, as mayor and a citizen of Nogales, that our Border Patrol is doing the best and most kind, humane thing with the children," Garino said.

Clothes and other essentials are being collected at city hall, according to the mayor. He said it's just a matter of waiting to see if the federal government authorizes the donations.

Juanita Molina, Executive Director for Border Action Network, said the situation is too complex to place a blame on any specific agency or organization. Instead, she said this should be a time for federal agencies to improve their communication and cooperation with local non-profits.

"What these children are enduring right now is something that no one should have to endure," she said. "I think the more communication that there is, the more of a possibility that this could have a good outcome."

Banegas said he only met with about 60 of the roughly 200 Honduran children Saturday. He plans to return to the Nogales facility Sunday.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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