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Legislator calls on Gov. Jan Brewer to visit migrant housing facility

PHOENIX -- An Arizona state representative thinks Gov. Jan Brewer should travel to Nogales, but not on vacation.

Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon said Brewer should take a look a look at the U.S. Border Patrol Youth Detention Center where unaccompanied minors from south of the border are being held.

"The state of Arizona has a moral responsibility for any child that comes into our state, no matter how they get here," said Gabaldon. "I think it would be good for Gov. Brewer to visit."

The makeshift shelter is an old commercial warehouse that was converted into a detention center in the 2000s. It was closed in 2009, but reopened last week because of the increase in new youth cases.

Gabaldon and two other Democratic state lawmakers, Rep. Stefanie Mach and Rep. Demion Clinco, toured the facility on Sunday.

Gaboldon said that there are portable toilets there and additional bathrooms, temporary shower trailers and washing machine facilities were being installed.

"It was a swamp cooler and a very hot day," Gaboldon said. "It was a little bit warm, but not uncomfortable, and the area looked very clean."

She said it was clear to all three legislators that Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement officials were working to improve the conditions and have the goal of transferring the children to longer term facilities within 72 hours.

Gabaldon didn't speak with any of the young people, but she did see them.

"The majority of them were male, but we did see some females," she said. "They looked very scared to me. It was just a very sad situation."

Brewer's office said, as of now, she has no plans to travel to Nogales.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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