In response to the increased number of migrants crossing the border in El Paso, US Customs and Border Protection is erecting a soft-sided tent facility to increase migrant processing capacity by about 1,000, according to Landon Hutchens, US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.
“The facility will be used by U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector to provide additional migrant processing capabilities, with a capacity to hold approximately 1,000 migrants while they are processed in accordance with U.S. immigration law,” Hutchens said in a statement.
The facility is expected to be operational sometime in January.
In preparation for the possible lifting of Title 42, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would be adding 10 soft-sided facilities to boost its processing capacity. The facility going up in El Paso is one of those facilities.
“This is part of the agency’s response efforts regarding increased migrant encounters in the El Paso area, along with surging additional personnel and providing funding to local partners,” Hutchens added.
“The addition of temporary processing facilities such as this one increases CBP’s capacity to safely take noncitizens into custody and place them into immigration proceedings.”
Title 42 was put in place by the Center for Disease Control in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in a public health bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, but advocates argue it’s been used to halt immigration at the US-Mexico border.
The controversial order was set to end December 21 but remains in limbo after the Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday allowing the policy to remain in effect while legal challenges play out – a process that could stretch out for at least several months.
The city of El Paso is straining to handle the daily influx of migrants crossing the border.
Two vacant schools in the city are being prepared to house migrants, Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said Tuesday.
Shelters have been set up at hotels, and some church parishes have volunteered to house migrants, he said. About 1,000 beds have been set up in El Paso’s convention center, which housed more than 480 migrants overnight on Christmas Eve and about 420 on Christmas Day, city spokesperson Laura Cruz-Acosta confirmed to CNN.