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State Representative Fernandez: Family Separations at Border 'A Horrible Situation'

Lou Gum
Charlene Fernandez visits the KAWC studio on Monday, July 16, 2018.

State Representative Charlene Fernandez joined lawmakers earlier this month in visiting a facility housing children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fernandez said she and other lawmakers, including U.S. Congressman Raúl Grijalva, were sent to a facility run by Southwest Key in Tucson. She said it was the site of a former hotel and that the children received meals and health screenings. They appeared to be clean and well behaved but were also unusually quiet.

"They're fed," Fernandez said. "There's a roof over their heads. There's a place to sleep but it's a horrible situation."

"They're away from their parents," she said. "They don't know where their parents are. They don't know what tomorrow holds for them."

Fernandez said the public should be concerned that the children appear to have been transported from other parts of the U.S. Southwest to Arizona and that there appears to be no rush to reunite them with their families.

"Of concern for myself and my constituents out there should be the fact that a lot of these kids, they're not even from Arizona, they didn't cross the Arizona border," she said. "They put them on a bus and brought them to Tucson. Just think of what this is doing to these kids."

The deadline for the government to reunite separated children with their families is July 26.

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.