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New migrant processing center opens in El Paso amid increase in border crossings

CBP processing photo.jpg
Customs and Border Protection
/
CBP
The facility has a capacity of 1,000 and adds to the overall space Border Patrol facilities in the El Paso Sector have to process migrants.

CBP officials said the new facility has a capacity of 1,000.

Customs and Border Protection officials said Wednesday a new processing center is now operational in El Paso as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to manage an influx of immigrants into the city that began a month ago.

The facility has a capacity of 1,000 and adds to the overall space Border Patrol facilities in the El Paso Sector have to process migrants. A 1,040-person facility opened in Northeast El Paso in 2020.

Customs and Border Protection said in the statement that the new facility, which consists of multiple soft-sided structures, will include “ample areas for eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene” and is 153,300 square feet in size.

In early December, thousands of migrants — mainly from South American and Central America — began crossing into the city at a rate that overwhelmed local and federal officials. According to CBP officials, about 2,500 migrants crossed daily for several days. The influx led to U.S. Border Patrol releasing thousands onto the streets. Hundreds slept on downtown sidewalks as freezing overnight temperatures descended on the city.

The number of encounters with migrants has significantly decreased since that high mark in December. According to a City of El Paso dashboard, encounters fell to less than 800 a week at the start of 2023, while releases fell to below 200 a day in the second week of the year.

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Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at jaguilar@kera.org.You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.