Group Protests No Access To Southwest Key Programs' Settlement Conference

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 2:13pm
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 10:54am

A small group of protesters gathered near the Arizona Department of Health Services on Tuesday morning.

About 20 people voiced their objection to not being allowed to attend an informal settlement conference Tuesday between state officials and Southwest Key Programs, which operates shelters for undocumented immigrant children in Arizona.

The settlement conference is part of a legal process launched by the state health department that aims to take away Southwest Key’s licenses.

Ofelia Cañez is a member of the Uncage and Reunite Families Coalition, which demands the state do more to protect kids living in Southwest Key facilities.

"I saw a hundred immigrant children that were deposited in Phoenix. I smelled their bodies. I touched their skin. I felt their sufferage. Ya basta — enough!" said Cañez.

State officials have said the informal settlement conference is a closed-door meeting. But an administrative law hearing scheduled for early November is open to the public. State officials have also said Southwest Key has fixed one of the problems that led to state efforts to take away its licenses.

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