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New Tent Cities In Texas Designed To Expand Shelter For Illegal Immigrants

One America News Network updates the border crisis status: Just across the southern border in Texas, the U.S. government built two large tents in the hopes of providing some additional shelter to the overwhelming number of migrants crossing the border. Officials said they are having a hard time coping with the lack of space for migrants, which has led those crossing the border to sleep on the floors of Border Patrol stations or in military-style tents.

The tents, located in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley, are each designed to hold 500 people with bathrooms, recreation areas and sleeping quarters.

In a recent statement, officials said the tents were built “to support efforts to process, care for, and transfer the unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally each day.”

The tents are slated to be in use for at least the next four-months, and come with a price tag. The government estimates it will cost around $37 million to operate the facilities.

El Paso has reportedly become the center of the Central American migrant crisis, with thousands flocking to the border each day.

“These installations are for 500 people. It’s not going to solve the problem we’re seeing, which is the large number of apprehensions that we have seen in this sector since October last year. This will help us to process a little bit better,” said Ramiro Cordero, Border Patrol agent.

On Tuesday, Border Patrol agents reported arresting around 1,100 migrants in the El Paso sector. Additionally, Border Patrol said it closed down drug enforcement checkpoints around El Paso. Officials said the checkpoints are now being used to process illegal immigrants. The agency said the checkpoints can be reopened if the flow of migrants slows down.

Thousands of migrant families and children apprehended crossing the U.S. border in the Lower Rio Grande Valley will spend their first night in America in a vast air-conditioned tent complex with access to showers, hot meals and cots to sleep on.

The massive 40,000-square-foot white vinyl tent erected in less than a month on farm country owned by the federal government about a mile from the Rio Grande was set to open for the first time Thursday to handle what authorities described as a 240 percent increase in apprehensions in the Border Patrol sector anchored by the city McAllen.

According to Border Patrol figures, more than 361,000 migrants were apprehended at the southern border during the six-month period that ended March 31. Of that total, nearly 36,000 were unaccompanied children.

“Sometimes there are over 100, sometimes there are over 200,” said Carmen Qualia, a Border Patrol executive officer who led a tour of the tent in the town of Donna. She was referring to individual apprehensions in the sector that has been taking an average of 1,200 family members and children each day for the past several weeks.

“As you can see, it puts a big strain on our resources,” she added.

Indeed, a similar tent complex called a temporary detention center was also scheduled to open in the El Paso area as existing detention facilities can no longer handle the influx.

But the migrants who are taken to the bright and spacious new tents will not stay long. Qualia and a team of public information officers who guided more than two dozen reporters and photojournalists through the Donna tent said apprehended immigrants spend only up to 72 hours in Border Patrol custody, though most are out within 48 hours.

Lisa Duncan

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