On Monday, Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego joined other state lawmakers calling for accountability on the actions of U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement’s contractor, MVM, Inc., who had been holding migrant children in a non-descript commercial office building. It has later been learned that despite statements to the contrary, the contractor, MVM, Inc. admitted to the Center for Investigative Reporting that children had stayed at the facility overnight, a violation under City of Phoenix code.
At a Thursday press conference, the Councilwoman shared additional updates that city inspectors were repeatedly dispatched to inspect the building, but were unable to gain access to investigate any violations. City staff were successful in reaching MVM and have learned that the contractor no longer plans to use the facility and is terminating its lease to use the site. In addition, the city has learned that MVM is revising their policies and procedures that allowed for this practice to occur.
Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego shared the following concerning this news, “It is clear that ICE does not have an adequate plan for taking care of children. It is irresponsible for them to have contractors keep children under their supervision at office buildings not properly retrofitted for the care of children. Despite promises from the contractor, I am concerned this mistreatment of children will happen elsewhere in our city. I will continue to do everything within the city’s power to ensure city codes are enforced to hold ICE’s contractors accountable and keep children safe. I want to thank city resident Ms. Lianna Dunlap for taking action and raising awareness of the contractor’s actions. Residents should continue to be vigilant as MVM may be operating elsewhere in the city. Please contact my office at 602-262-7493 if you observe children being housed improperly.”