Border

Jun 17, 2014 7:40 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Hundreds of doctors screening undocumented children at Nogales BP station

NOGALES, Ariz. - Federal authorities continue to screen and process more than a thousand unaccompanied children who were caught crossing into the U.S. illegally.

Most of the children come from Central America and were brought to a detention center in Nogales, Ariz., to relieve overflowing facilities in Texas.

The feds are working with limited resources and facing a lot of mental and health challenges as they continue to work with the massive amount of children at the Border Patrol detention center.

At any given time, roughly 1,200 children are waiting to be processed by federal authorities. They are getting legal counseling and there are about 120 doctors giving medical exams, Arizona State Senator Andrea Dalessandro told News 4 Tucson.

Dalessandro recently took a tour of the Border Patrol facility and spoke with both officials and children.

"After the medical screening, if they find out they have TB or some other serious disease, they are quarantined and removed from the facility because they don't have any place in that warehouse to isolate the child," Dalessandro said.

Federal authorities said about 90 percent of the children know how to contact their parents and have provided phone banks to their respective consulates. That could play a role in the potential deportation process.

Still, others will likely seek asylum citing poverty and violence in their home countries.

"One little boy reported seeing his father killed there -- so I do think this is a refugee issue," Dalessandro said.

An estimated 90,000 undocumented children will enter the U.S. this year. According to federal statistics, that's six times the amount from just two years ago.

Congressional leaders are also calling for action from the White House.

"Historic amounts of funding are provided for border security, the same consideration should be given for humanitarian situations that result from our broken immigration policies. The health and safety of these children must be our priority," said Congressman Raul Grijalva in a letter to President Obama.

News 4 Tucson has learned that Customs and Border Protection will reverse its policy and allow media access inside the processing center at the Border Patrol Station. We will have a crew there on Wednesday and give you the latest updates from Nogales.

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