Immigrant children's shelter in Tucson closer to opening - Tucson News Now

Immigrant children's shelter in Tucson closer to opening

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The influx of immigrant children coming to the United States from Central America is having an unexpected side-effect.

Many of those children will soon be coming to Tucson, which could be a good thing for those looking for job.

Texas-based Southwest Key is holding interviews and training in the facility in Tucson that is expected to house unaccompanied immigrant children, possibly those now being housed in Nogales.

Judging by the parking lot, a lot a people have applied for those jobs.

Southwest Key is not answering any news media questions, referring all calls to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Tucson News Now tried on Monday to find out more, but barely got in the front door of the Tucson facility before we were met by a security guard who said, "I'm sorry you can't be here. You need to leave."

The building where the children are expected to be housed is on Oracle Road, north of downtown.

The parking was full again on Monday.

People coming out of the building told TNN they were instructed not to talk to us. However, some did say training and interviews were being conducted.

The building was once a motel with about 140 rooms. Most recently it was a studio apartment complex for university students.

Crews have been working on the rooms and other parts of the property. On its website, Southwest Key describes itself as the largest provider of services to unaccompanied minors in the country.  

No word on how many children might eventually be housed at the Oracle Road shelter or when it might open.

We do know this: Southwest Key must file an application with the Arizona Department of Health Services if it wants to be licensed to operate a new facility in Tucson.

An ADHS spokesperson said Southwest Key does not have a completed application on file.       

The children in Nogales are mostly from Central America.

On the Southwest Key website, some 270 jobs are advertised for Tucson, from teachers to cooks to youth care workers.

The city of Tucson has rezoned the property to allow it to operate as a shelter for one year.

City leaders are considering other possible locations for more shelters.

According to ADHS, Southwest Key operates 10 facilities in Arizona. All are in the Phoenix area.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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