At least one TUSD Governing Board member wants to move the illegal alien children in the Nogales Border Patrol Station to closed schools within the district. Adelita Grijalva is proposing that the children be warehoused in the schools closed by the district over the years due to declining enrollments.
Grijalva made the proposal after touring the facility with her father Congressman Raul Grijalva. The proposal would move the children from the warehouse type detention center into schools, which would in effect become detention centers.
Some 140 to 200 illegal aliens are arriving daily at the Nogales Border Patrol Station, according to Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, who says that the children are then cleaned up, give new clean clothes, processed by agents, and allowed to contact the embassies of their country of origin. After approximately 3 to 4 days they are sent off to military bases in California and Texas.
Garino says he was informed by DHS that the process will continue all summer.
Garino says the aliens are getting all they need. He notes that FEMA personnel walk through facility pushing a snack cart for kids while they enjoy television and recreate on the playground.
At the same time, Grijalva wants to turn vacant schools into makeshift housing units, the federal government has for months been lining housing for the entrants as they wind through the legal system. The legal process for the minor entrants will take approximately 3 to 4 years.
Governing Board member Michael Hicks is disappointed that once again Grijalva is trying to exploit what has become a divisive political issue. He says that he agrees with the District’s Superintendent H.T. Sanchez who says that he does not want TUSD schools to become detention centers.
“We can’t use these kids to further a political agenda,” says Hicks. “If the federal government decides to settle more children here, we need to appeal to the community to open up their homes to the kids who will stay and not keep them institutionalized. We, by law, must educate every child who comes to us, and we do happily. We are not in the business of detaining kids. If the people of Tucson decide to welcome these kids then they should be willing to house them, and we will educate them.”
Over the years, the District has seen dramatic declines in enrollment due in part to the Grijalva’s insistence to politicize education and exploit children. Parents of all ethnicities across the community have increasingly opted for charter schools rather than have children used as pawns by the political players. As a result, the District has been forced to shutter schools.
Those schools, which once were so important to the economic and social health of the neighborhoods in which they are located, have become eyesores. They have sat vacant because the District under Grijalva’s leadership has refused to lease or sell them to private or charter school interests.