Jul 17, 2014 12:46 AM by Rebecca Taylor

YMCA camp kids mistaken for migrants speak to News 4 Tucson

TUCSON - A local lawmaker is making international headlines after he mistook a group of YMCA campers for undocumented migrants during Tuesday's protest.

"I was actually able to see some of the children in the buses. The fear on their faces," said state legislator Adam Kwasman, a Republican who's also running for Congress.

What do the kids riding on the bus, mistaken for migrants from Central America have to say?

The kids on the bus, ages 10 and 11, talked with News 4 Tucson's Rebecca Taylor.

Benicio Morales,11, said, "I actually saw the news that morning, so I knew a little bit about what was going on."

Morales was sitting in the front of the bus, among the first to see a crowd of demonstrators.

"I thought it was pretty crazy. It was just a normal day, we were going to Y Camp and we see a bunch of people and they think we're illegal immigrant children," describes Morales.

Kwasman was among the demonstrators Tuesday, hoping to block 40 to 60 migrant children from being temporarily housed in the community.

He was mid-speech when he spotted a yellow bus and tweeted about it posting, "Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law."

Unfortunately for Kwasman he didn't find out they were local camp kids until mid-interview with a Phoenix reporter.

Did you know that was a bus with YMCA kids, asked the reporter?

"They were sad too. Okay I apologize," said Kwasman, "I didn't know I was leaving when I saw them."

Until now, the Kwasman name was unfamiliar to the Pope family. Rebekah Pope's son Tristan was riding on the bus.

"Everybody has a right to free speech, and I think that's okay. But to go a bit too far is different," said Pope.

As for the camp?

YMCA spokesperson for Southern Arizona Amanda Thomas says, "Well, we've definitely gotten lots of inquiries about it. Obviously our main thing is the kids are safe. And we get to keep doing our fun camp activities."

Kwasman has again taken to Twitter saying, "I made a simple mistake, and I take full responsibility for my error."


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