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No kids picked up in Texas remain in Nogales shelter
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No kids picked up in Texas remain in Nogales shelter

  • Two female detainees sleep in a holding cell at the CBP Nogales Placement Center on June 18.
    AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, PoolTwo female detainees sleep in a holding cell at the CBP Nogales Placement Center on June 18.

The number of undocumented children sheltered at the Nogales Border Patrol station has dwindled to a handful, owing to a dramatic decrease in apprehensions and a new facility in Texas. "Just a few" picked up in Arizona remain, and there are none who crossed in Texas still at the center, authorities said Wednesday.

Tuesday, in the Nogales shelter were just four children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley, where a wave of Central American migrants overwhelmed federal immigration authorities.

Those kids have all been turned over to the care of the Department of Health and Human Service, a spokesman said.

"About seven" children are now at the facility, said Victor Brabble, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Tucson Sector. All were picked up in Arizona, he said.

"It changes hour to hour ... we're back to business as usual. We're able to place them much quicker," he said Wednesday.

In June, the agency struggled to care for nearly 1,000 children held at the converted warehouse.

The Nogales station became a way-point for thousands of children, nearly all from Central America, after their apprehension by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley starting in early June. 

An influx of at least 57,000 minors since last October sent the federal government scrambling for solutions, especially since Border Patrol and U.S. immigration agencies cannot hold children for longer than 72 hours before they are turned over to the care of DHHS.

This requirement made it necessary to open the Nogales station, which had a 120,000-square-foot warehouse originally set up to deal with an expected wave of adults through the Tucson Sector.

At its height, as many as 300 children per day would arrive by the busload after being flown to Tucson. In June, the agency struggled to care for nearly 1,000 children held at the converted warehouse. 

Border Patrol did not have a total for the number children who went through the facility, but according to a memo from the health director of Pima County, around 5,000 unaccompanied minors have been processed through the facility.

During a scripted media tour in June, about 800 children were at the shelter.

Border Patrol will close the processing center soon, but it will remain available should the agency need it again.

The agency wants to "limit the need to transport those we apprehend in the Rio Grande Valley to other sectors," Brabble said Tuesday.

The new centralized processing center in McAllen will limit or eliminate "the need to transfer individuals from other sectors to Nogales for processing," he said. 

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