First Lady Of Guatemala Visits Child Migrants In Arizona

By Kate Sheehy
July 02, 2014
Kate Sheehy
The First Lady of Guatemala, Rosa Leal de Perez, in Nogales, Ariz., on Wednesday.

NOGALES, Ariz. — The First Lady of Guatemala is in Southern Arizona to see how the region is handling the surge of unaccompanied child migrants, many of them from her home country. One of her stops Wednesday was a Border Patrol facility for kids in Nogales. 

Guatemala’s First Lady Rosa Leal de Perez said she was very pleased with the conditions in the Nogales detention center. She said it was the first time she had seen migrants so young; one just 4 years old.

Leal echoed President Barack Obama in calling the surge of child migrants a “humanitarian crisis.”

“There needs to be a strong campaign to raise awareness, if people don’t want to help, then they shouldn’t oppose it. They need to understand that these children are not delinquents, they didn’t come to do anything bad in this country, they are simply coming to see their family,” Leal said.  

Leal said that children from Guatemala are not fleeing violence, but they are risking the dangerous journey to the U.S. in search of more opportunities. For its part, she said the Guatemalan government is working to build more schools and offer educational scholarships to young people.

Leal will also visit a shelter for unaccompanied child migrants located in a former apartment complex in Tucson. On Friday she is meeting with leaders from the Guatemalan community in Phoenix.