PHOENIX - Maria Jimena Diaz works as the Consul General of Guatemala for Arizona.
She spoke very candidly about the ages of the unaccompanied Guatemalan minors she's seen at local shelters in the Phoenix area, specifically at Southwest Key.
"Two years ago, it was 16 (years old), 17 (years old),” said Diaz. “But now, its 15 (years old), 12(years old) and even six years (old)."
Since October, she says of the close to 12,000 Guatemalan migrants apprehended on the Southwest border since October of last year, nearly 6,000 have been sent to shelters in Phoenix.
This of course doesn't include the groups we're seeing at the Greyhound bus stop in Phoenix over the past week that have been accompanied by adults.
She claims it’s because "mainly the shelters are here, not in Tucson."
When we spoke with Customs and Border protection, they said the minors that are unaccompanied and apprehended, are typically turned over to ICE for processing before any of them are sent to shelters.
But Diaz believes the increasing number may be hard to manage.
"If you compare the numbers of the last year and this year, it seems to be at the end of this year, we'll maybe triple what we had at the end of last year,” said Diaz.