DHS Secretary Visits Nogales Detention Kids, While Crisis Gets Grilled On The Hill

By Jude Joffe-Block, Kate Sheehy
June 25, 2014
Monica Ortiz Uribe
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke after touring the Nogales processing center Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer met in Nogales, Ariz., to tour a facility where unaccompanied child migrants are being housed. The secretary sent a message about the risks of crossing the border illegally.

Johnson said there are about 900 children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Nogales. He said the kids are being well cared for, but he issued a warning.

"To all those who are listening, including the parents who may be considering sending their kids from Central America, that this journey is a dangerous one and at the end of it, there is no free pass, there are no "permisos," Johnson said.

Johnson said these children are subject to deportation proceedings. He did not give details about how the government will keep track of these children once they are released from detention. Kids have been staying in the Nogales facility since May 31.

In Washington, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America coming across the border.

Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, said the Obama administration's policies have encouraged these migrants to come.

"Word has spread to Americas and beyond that the Obama administration has taken unprecedented and most likely unconstitutional steps in order to shut down the enforcement of our immigration laws," Goodlatte said.

But one of the witnesses, Bishop Mark Seitz, told the committee that these children and adults are not only fleeing to the United States. They are also seeking asylum in other Latin American countries due to violence at home.