DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson prepares to visit Nogales facility - Tucson News Now

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson visits Nogales facility with Gov. Jan Brewer

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NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson took about an hour to tour the Nogales Processing Center where about 900 Central American children are being held.

Both said they talked to some of the children about their long and dangerous journey.

Brewer said some told her it took two weeks and a thousand miles.

Some came by train, others were transported by paid coyotes.

"It's very difficult to look into their eyes and see all the hurt and trauma they've been through," she says. "As a mother it breaks my heart to see them in the condition they're in."

The Governor placed the blame on the children's parents who put them on a "dangerous journey" and the administration for failure to "secure the border."

Secretary Johnson reiterated his call for the parents not to send their children into harms way.

 "There is no permiso, there is no free pass," he said.

The families have been under the misguided perception that once they landed on United State soil they would be free, he said.

He told reporters the children are subject to deportation but that the US government is also "in discussions right now with the government's of Central America to stem the tide."

He says there will be an end to this but could not predict when.

Governor Brewer told the media the College Place on Drachman and Oracle is being readied for 280 of the children.

The group handling the conversion has applied for a state permit that does not include a lock down, giving the residents there some freedom to come and go as they wish.

Yesterday, while still in Washington D.C. Johnson testified in front of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Last week he also visited one of the Texas facilities and said he is considering sending more CBP personnel to assist.

The hope is that Secretary Johnson will answer more questions about what his plan of action will be for Arizona.  In a statement released yesterday he outlined the 14 steps his department is doing in response to the problem. 

One is being in contact with senior government officials from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico to address shared border security interest and the underlying conditions in Central America that are promoting the large number of children leaving. 

"I do believe that the smuggling organizations are putting out a lot of disinformation about the legal conditions here in the U.S. to induce this activity," said Secretary Johnson.

Johnson also said the department is continuing to push their public service announcement campaign to make sure parents of these children know it's dangerous to travel to the U.S. and there is no 'free pass' at the end of their long journey.  Another solution under consideration is to set up a facility in New Mexico to temporarily house adults who come to the U.S. with their children.

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