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NY Times Lists Phoenix Catholic Social Services as Immigrant Detention Facility

Mary Menacker, site director for the Phoenix Catholic Social Services center, seemed kind of surprised to find out her organization was reportedly detaining 14 immigrants for the government.

"We don't detain people," Menacker tells New Times. "We're not part of the legal system."

The information about the detainees came from the December 26 edition of the New York Times, which ran an interactive map that accompanied an article about immigrant detention facilities. One of our eagle-eyed readers playing with the map on his computer (at work, no doubt), noticed the Catholic connection.

The listing is obviously an error, of sorts, since the Catholic group's Phoenix offices don't contain any rooms with bars. But the group does provide foster home services for children detained by immigration authorities.

Undocumented children placed with the Catholics are sent directly home with their foster families, Menacker says. 

Eduardo Preciado of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement says he's not sure where the Times came up with the "14 detainees" data. Phoenix seems to be the only city on the Times' map with a Catholic group among the list of jails and prisons.

Of course, the Catholic Church did run detention facilities a few hundred years ago.

It's probably a good thing it got out of the business. -- Ray Stern

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.