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Romero calls for city to act on youth migrant crisis

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Romero calls for city to act on youth migrant crisis

Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero called Wednesday for city staff to take immediate action in helping the federal government establish a Tucson-based shelter for unaccompanied migrant youth.

Romero expressed concerns about the hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant youths being sent to Arizona from Texas for federal detention and processing.

"This is a humanitarian emergency. As a city we have a responsibility to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem, " said Romero.

More than 700 children are being held in a warehouse in Nogales, Ariz. which is serving as a temporary processing station.

The Nogales facility, which reportedly has no indoor plumbing, is not intended for the detention of adults, much less hundreds of unaccompanied children, according to a press release from Romero's office.

"No child, regardless of country of origin of (sic) socio-economic status, deserves to be detained in this way," said Romero in the release. "These are kids guilty only of their circumstances. It is unconscionable not do all we can to help."

Romero also requested a study session discussion at the June 17 City Council meeting to address problems federal contractors are having repurposing facilities in Tucson.

Sites proposed for shelters would require zoning variances, city officials have said. Because of required public comment periods, that would take months.

"If existing site options do not represent a feasible solution, staff needs to work diligently to find alternatives. It is imperative as a city that we move swiftly to address federal requests for support," Romero said.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas has called a meeting with social service agencies and community leaders Friday to discuss ways of providing humanitarian relief. Romero expects to have an update from the city to share at that time, the release said.

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