Republican state Senator Kate Brophy McGee said she is leading an effort by some state lawmakers to learn more about the unaccompanied minors being housed in facilities in Phoenix and Tucson.
Senator Brophy McGee, a north Phoenix Republican, met last week with officials from Southwest Key, a non-profit organization running more than 25 immigrant youth care facilities in Arizona and neighboring states.
The company contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Brophy McGee said the agency is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
"Arizona puts children first," Brophy McGee told KAWC. "We are doing everything we can to learn about the status of these children and understand the intersect between the federal government role and the state's role and the overriding goal is to make sure these kids are okay."
Democratic officials including Congressman Raúl Grijalva and state Representative Charlene Fernandez have toured facilities. Brophy McGee said she plans to visit a facility in the near future and that the well-being of the children must be considered.
"I'm very concerned about the human treatment of these children from the moment they encounter U.S. enforcement officials until they are reunified with their families," she said.
Brophy McGee said she is working with House Speaker J.D. Mesnard and state Representative Jeff Weninger, both Chandler Republicans. She says officials from the Department of Child Services have also met on the issue.