Jun 26, 2014 12:17 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Migrant placement center in Tucson, upsetting some area residents

TUCSON - A migrant placement center will soon open its doors in Tucson. Some living around it are upset they didn't get a voice in the matter, like people in other cities have.

A college housing community is being transformed into a Southwest Key holding facility for children. It's located on Oracle Road near Grant Road.

Once construction is complete some neighbors fear security will be lacking.

Landscapers and construction crews have been working the past two weeks to get it ready. 280 migrants are expected to be housed there.

"I don't like it too much," said area resident Richard Wileman.

Opponents to the federally funded immigrant center worry about traffic, safety and public health.

"With these kids moving in next door it's going to feel really unsafe," said Wileman.

April Vincent adds, "I don't know if we'll really be safe with them coming here because then we'll have them, their families and so forth. It might be kind of risky."

According to the Southwest Key shelter website the ideal length of stay for kids, is 45 days. Their goal is to reunite them with family in the U.S. or back in their home country. While here they receive counseling, medical services and attend on-site school.

Some Tucson residents wonder why they didn't have a say in where the shelter is located. People in Escondido, California did.

This week large crowds against one proposed shelter going up in their community filled City Hall. As a result the Planning Commissioner there ultimately denied a permit to transform a nursing home into a Southwest Key facility.

News 4 Tucson reached out to the City of Tucson and the Mayor's office. We were told someone in Planning and Development will get back to us, to discuss code requirements. No one got back to us, by our newscast deadline.

Linda Hildreth whose adult son lives in public housing next door to the shelter feels unaccompanied children need and deserve help.

"They're here, somebody's got to help them," said Hildreth.

No word yet on when the Tucson facility is set to officially open, children have already been spotted. Southwest Key's website shows they have three centers in the Phoenix area.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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