Arizona AG Horne: We Expect to Take Legal Action on Migrant Children

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 02:00 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne expects to take action soon to stop the thousands of illegal immigrant children who are bused into his state from Texas.

"I can't say what we would be doing until our legal research is done," Horne told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth Thursday. However, attorneys are working to determine what the state's legal options may be, and his office could take action as early as Thursday to stop the influx, he said.

Nearly 1,000 illegal immigrants per day are pouring into Texas, causing a range of concerns, including public health risks, crime, and housing pressures, according to KRLD, the CBS affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Many of those migrants are children ages 17 and younger who are then bused to and dropped off in Arizona, where they are detained in holding facilities while either family members are tracked down or officials decide what to do with them.

Horne blames the Obama administration for the situation.

"They've done some pretty bizarre things," Horne said. "They caught people crossing the border in Texas and they shipped them to Arizona and left them in a bus station."

These include people who may be carrying communicable diseases, he said.

"We don't know if they've been inoculated," said Horne. "These are people who had no resources, [and] the burden fell on the charity of the state. If you catch people crossing the border, you're supposed to send them back to their country of origin, not send them to Arizona."

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Part of the issue is an Obama administration policy that allows minors to remain in the United States if they are able to make it across the border.

"If a minor who is not permitted to immigrate makes it across the border, they get to stay," said Horne. "They get to be sent to any family that they have here. Well, the word got out, and now we're looking at something like 90,000 [people]."

Horne said he saw an interview with "the head of the border patrol agents in Texas," who said once children cross the border, they look for a border patrol agent to surrender to because they know they won't be sent back.

"He says that we used to chase them, now they chase us."

The children should be sent back home, said Horne, as they "have no right to cross the border."

However, he noted, people south of the border obviously know that children won't be sent back, so there has been an "explosion" of children coming across the border from Mexico and Central America.

"Word gets out, you get massive migration," said Horne. "That's what happens when you indicate you won't enforce your laws."

Horne didn't specify what will happen, but insisted he and other authorities must take action so that no more migrants will be dumped in Arizona.

"We need to do something to stop the government from taking this bizarre approach," said Horne. "It's like somebody has a weird sense of humor in the federal government."

On Wednesday, Horne's office announced it came to an agreement with federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to inspect the detention facility in Nogales, Ariz., where more than 1,000 children are being held alone, The Arizona Republic reports.

In addition, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he sent a letter to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement threatening legal action if the agency is determined to be in violation of Arizona child-abuse laws.

The children were sent to Arizona for processing after the Rio Grande Valley Sector was overwhelmed, federal officials said.


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