Border group calls for more improvements to holding center

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Source: Tucson News Now Source: Tucson News Now
NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Chants of "Let the children go" and "Let the children play" could be heard in downtown Nogales and along the international board on Friday night.

Dozens of people joined the Border Patrol Victims Network to call for improved conditions inside a temporary holding center in the city where hundreds of migrant children are being processed after illegally crossing the border in Texas.

The Border Patrol facility has already hosted local, state and federal leaders for tours. Descriptions have varied, but the consensus has been that agents are doing the best they can with the resources provided. Richard Boren, a volunteer with BPVN, said there's more than can be done.

"I would disagree that these kids are getting the best that they could be given," he said. "They're kept safe, relatively. They have a place to sleep. But is this the best they could be given? Absolutely not." 

The organization provided a list of demands Friday night that call for an outside agency, like Amnesty International or UNICEF, to constantly monitor the situation inside the facility. The list includes demands for more mental health screening and free legal advice for the children to better understand their circumstances.

Boren said the federal government should increase its support for facilities like the one in Nogales, but he said he's worried that leaders in Washington D.C. will be caught up in politics.

"These kids shouldn't be a political hot potato," said Boren. "They deserve, like any kid around that world that fled and crossed an international border, to be given humane treatment and have the resources dedicated to help figure out what is in the kids' best interest"

According to this organization, and the crowd that joined Friday's march, deporting children even if they don't have family in the United States is not the way to handle this situation.

"To ship them back to a country that's going to imperil their safety, it really makes no sense at all," Boren said.

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