by Katarina Hall
The United States Border Patrol inaugurated this Wednesday in El Paso, Texas, a huge tent in the desert with capacity for 1,000 migrants, in order to help process the record number of people who cross the border between the United States and Mexico .
Located on the outskirts of the city, the temporary facility is the size of 23 football fields or 153,000 square feet and can hold 1,000 people. The facilities are weather resistant, air-conditioned and have spacious areas for eating, sleeping and washing.
“The new store is part of the agency’s efforts to address increased encounters with immigrants in the El Paso area, along with the deployment of additional staff and funding for local partners, ” the Customs and Protection spokesperson said . Border Patrol Officer (CBP) Landon Hutchens in December when plans for the store were announced.
That month, El Paso declared a state of emergency after receiving thousands of asylum-seeking migrants, overwhelming local shelters and leaving thousands sleeping on the streets in subzero temperatures. Currently, the city uses hotels, parishes and convention centers to house the migrants who arrive, some 2,400 a day, according to municipal data.
The United States Border Patrol Central Processing Center opened a permanent migrant processing center at Hondo Pass in fall 2020, with a capacity for 1,040 people. The new tent facility is intended to provide additional support to the main intake center.
The Department of Homeland Security announced plans to open nine additional facilities to increase CBP’s migrant processing capacity if necessary.
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Katarina Hall is a reporter for ADN America.