EL PASO, TX (Border Report) — US Customs and Border Protection has opened a new migrant processing facility in northeast El Paso that will come in handy when the agency again has to deal with a large influx of migrants.
The new facility on U.S. Route 54 can handle up to 1,000 migrants detained in the El Paso sector, which runs from Hudspeth County in Far West Texas to the New Mexico-Arizona border.
The new facility, described in national media reports as a white tent the size of a football field, will complement the U.S. Border Patrol data center at Hondo Pass, also in northeast El Paso. This facility opened in the fall of 2020 and has a capacity of 1,040 people.
The CTC and other existing facilities were operating well beyond their capacity at various points during the 4-year migration influx again and again. In late September and mid-December, the CBP sometimes held around 5,000 migrants in detention. Their numbers have plummeted since late December, with the city of El Paso’s online Migrant Dashboard reporting that as of Wednesday, 745 people were in CBP detention and only 570 encounters with migrants. As of Wednesday, the number of migrants on parole at local nonprofits was also close to 100, with 113 reported on Wednesday.
CBP reports that the number of encounters with migrants has been steadily increasing since April 2020.
“We are receiving one of 10 soft-sided properties from CBP on U.S. Route 54 in northeast El Paso. This is another area of processing to deal with this current influx of migrants and any possible Section 42 termination,” Carlos A. Rivera, acting U.S. Border Patrol agent, said last month. “We will be able to meet these migrants, place them in our facilities to be able to process these migrants and move them along their immigration path.”
The new soft-sided facility was built in northeast El Paso due to its central location in the sector, CBP said.
“The facility is weatherproof, climate controlled and is expected to provide ample space for eating, sleeping and personal care,” CBP said in a statement Wednesday.
The facility is similar to other newly built soft wall facilities. It provides over 153,300 square feet of roof space and covers 28 acres.
There was no word on Wednesday morning about how many migrants were at the facility or how many CBP officers or contractors were on site to operate it.