Maricopa County’s top prosecutor is warning immigration officials they may be violating child abuse laws. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is saying all unaccompanied minors who enter the country illegally are being sent first to a processing center at Nogales and eventually to more permanent housing at military bases. But, County Attorney Bill Montgomery said it appears they may be being mixed in with families who are simply being bused to Arizona and pretty much abandoned there.
“When I spoke with Greyhound bus officials at the Phoenix bus station, they can’t confirm exactly which minors who are in the bus station are with which adults,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery admitted he cannot do much at this point without any hard proof.
“The best that I can do is simply let ICE know that if they are, in fact, dropping off unaccompanied minors with whatever process they’re using right now, cannot provide that 100 percent certainty that they’re not, they need to be advised they’re potentially in violation of our child abuse statutes,” he said.
ICE officials did not immediately respond to queries. But, Montgomery said he would be skeptical of whatever the agency says.
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t too long ago ICE was also telling us they weren’t releasing in the community,” he said.
But, that later turned out to be not true.