Southwest Key Put On Notice By Arizona, License At Risk

Southwest Key Lighthouse facility, Phoenix, AZ

In the fall of 2015, caseworkers with Southwest Key were reaching out to the media with concerns about the Unaccompanied Alien Children in their care. This week, the State Of Arizona is threatening to revoke the organization’s license.

Despite the serious concerns reported by caseworkers over the years, Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) advised Southwest Key in a letter dated September 19, that the organization would receive a Notice of Intent to Revoke, but that it was her “sincere hope that Southwest Key rises to the occasion to meet and exceed the expectations of the people of Arizona and continue serving this vulnerable population.”

In 2015, conservative radio show host James T. Harris filed a complaint with the Arizona Department of Health Services about the care of children in the Tucson Southwest Key facility. At the time, Harris and the Arizona Daily Independent were receiving frantic calls from caseworkers in the shelters, who reported everything from lice infestations to molestation.

Harris’ concerns were abruptly dismissed in a phone call from ADHS Bureau Chief Diane Eckles. He later received a letter in which Eckles dismissed his complaint. [View ADHS response to Harris]

“From the very beginning we were on this and concerned about what was happening with these kids. We knew the Obama administration was orchestrating this surge and didn’t seem to care that kids were in the hands of the cartels. That didn’t surprise us, but we were disappointed with the state’s response and the fact that they seemed to be in on it. We were we getting reports about the surge from government contractors before the minors arrived, We had recordings of the whistle blowers’ complaints. Those recordings were turned over to government officials. No one seemed to want to stop this. They were going along with it. At least we have a governor who is taking action now. Still, now that President Trump is in office the mainstream suddenly cares? I’ve got questions.”

The Arizona Daily Independent received documents from the Office of Refugee Resettlement that show that staff in Governor Brewer’s administration knew about the arrival of the minors long before they arrived. Brewer then acted shocked when the minors arrived at the Nogales Border Patrol facility.

Related article: Unaccompanied Children To Receive Services From Southwest Key

“This whole thing has been a sham,” said Harris. “Whether Arizona officials wanted the jobs the minors would create here during tough economic times, or they were intimidated by the Obama administration, who knows. What we do know is that no one seemed very interested in taking on the issue.”

It was only Rep. Bob Thorpe, who was even willing to ask questions about the facilities after Harris raised concerns. According to Thorpe, he ran into the same brick walls and was met with the same blank stares as Harris.

In October 2015, caseworkers reported that minors had fled the Tucson shelter because they believed they were about to be turned over to cartel members to be sold into slave labor.


In December 2015, Thorpe called for an investigation into the Southwest Key facilities after U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley issued a statement revealing that federal authorities responsible for vetting potential guardians of children who entered the country without an adult, had been placed with convicted criminals, according to whistle blower claims. Grassley reported that the whistle blower, who was familiar with the vetting process, alleged that at least 3,400 sponsors out of a sample of 29,000 listed in a government database had criminal histories that included domestic violence, homicide, child molestation, sexual assault and human trafficking.

Related article: Three Flee Tucson’s Southwest Key Unaccompanied Alien Minor Compound

As Harris says, the new interest in the welfare of the minors is in reaction to fake news reports about the Trump administration putting Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in cages. In fact, the pictures of kids in cages were taken during the surge orchestrated or at least encouraged by the Obama administration.

Crist wrote her letter to the founder of Southwest Key, Dr. Juan Sanchez, who is known as “El Presidente” at the shelters. In her letter to Sanchez, Crist cited Southwest Key’s failure to provide proof that its workers had received the required background checks.

Related article: Southwest Key Worker Guilty Of UAC Sexual Abuse

Southwest Key was supposed to ensure that it had conducted background checks on its employees by September 14. Crist complained in her letter that Southwest Key had shown an “astonishingly flippant attitude” toward government demands.

“Southwest Key’s lack of ability to deliver a simple report on the critical protections these children have against dangerous felons demonstrates an utter disregard of Arizona law, the mutual agreement with the department, and calls into question the privilege you enjoy operating a healthcare institution in the state of Arizona,” wrote Crist.

For caseworkers and Harris, Southwest Key’s inability to “deliver a simple report on critical protections” comes as no surprise. What may surprise the public and shock the collective conscience is how many kids were turned over to cartels operating in the U.S. by humanitarian organizations like Southwest Key during the Obama years.

Related Articles:

Thorpe calls for Investigation into UAC Care in Arizona

Three Flee Tucson’s Southwest Key Unaccompanied Alien Minor Compound

UACs are the keys to Southwest Key’s success

Unaccompanied children to receive services from Southwest Key

Southwest Key Staff Describe Unusual Tactics