U.S. Customs and Border Protection finally allowed reporters to tour the facilities that have been designated for processing the sudden surge of children from Central America showing up at the U.S. border.
There had been reports early on that these facilities were completely unprepared to have suitable conditions for the children, but many of those problems appear to have been rectified.
Local Reverend Jarrett Maupin II went on a tour in the facility in Nogales with other clergy last week, and was not impressed with the conditions. He told us that it was evident that the children hadn't showered in days, and although showers had just recently arrived at the facility, the water wasn't connected.
He also described the facility as very hot, and described the fenced-in pens the children were being held in.
You can see Maupin explain the conditions to Fox News' Megyn Kelly in the video below:
Reporters had been denied access to the facility when Maupin got his tour, leading Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake to call on Customs and Border Protection to allow media tours.
Finally, on Tuesday of this week, a CBP spokesman e-mailed details of a media tour, in which recording devices were banned, no questions were allowed during the tour, and reporters were barred from interacting with staff and children at the facility.
The Tucson-based Arizona Daily Star described the physical conditions yesterday as not that bad, but reported that many of the children "appeared sad."
"Even though they get fed six times a day, have stuffed animals and soccer balls to play with and books to read, the youths are still in detention, and the feeling is apparent when you walk in," the Star report says.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.