After leaked photos showed a U.S. border control center teeming with children behind chain-link fences, officials reportedly issued the threat of job termination to whoever took the photos.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security started flying immigrants to Arizona from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last month after the number of immigrants — including more than 48,000 children traveling on their own — overwhelmed the Border Patrol there.
Leaked photos of a processing center in Arizona showed people cooped up in areas with chain-link fences and lying on mats on the ground.
Sources speaking with Townhall on the condition of anonymity said officials at the Nogales Border Patrol processing center are “looking to fire any agents involved” with the photos.
“Apparently they are so ticked over these photos that they are going to fire the person that leaked them,” another source told Townhall.
Watch KGUN-TV’s report that says more than 1,000 minors were transported from Texas to Arizona over the weekend:
In addition, Patrol Agent in Charge Leslie Lawson released a memo that said employees would not be allowed to freely carry personal electronic devices around the facility.
“Due to the recent unauthorized use of a personally owned electronic device in the Nogales Processing Center, the use of such devices will be restricted to locations outside of detention areas,” Lawson wrote in the memo, according to Townhall. “Effective immediately, the use of personally owned cellular phones, cameras, or recording devices in the Nogales Detention Facility and the Nogales Processing Center is strictly prohibited. All personnel working or visiting detention facilities at the Nogales Station will be required to turn off these electronic devices and store them in a locker other secure location prior to entering the detention area.”
Federal authorities are using the Nogales facility as a way station, where the children will be vaccinated and checked medically. They will then be sent to facilities being set up in Ventura, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
A Homeland Security official said that the children would be moved out of the Nogales site as soon as Health and Human Services finds places for them.
Yet, this official added: “As quickly as we move them out, we get more. We believe this is just a start.”
“As word continues to grow throughout other countries that America’s borders are open; if you get to our border you will be welcomed, we expect the influx that is already a crisis level … will continue,” Andrew Wilder, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s communications chief, told the Arizona Star, echoing a similar sentiment.
The children being held in Nogales are 17 or younger. The official estimated three of every four were at least 16.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.