LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Just days after President Biden’s visit to the southern border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection have announced more space for individuals in custody. Wednesday, they announced the opening of a massive ‘soft-sided’ facility capable of holding 1,000 people.
Called a ‘soft-sided’ facility because it lacks hard walls, the large tent-like structure is located on U.S. Highway 54. In a news release, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials say the purpose of the facility is to “safely and expeditiously process individuals in U.S. Border Patrol custody,” and is aimed at managing the recent “migrant surge.” The structure has been in the works since last year.
“Since April 2020, CBP has seen a steady increase in border encounters from the Western Hemisphere,” the press release notes. “The temporary facility will provide additional processing capacity for Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector.”
The new soft-sided facility near El Paso. Image from CBP. Note: The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
CBP says the facility is weatherproof and climate controlled. Covering 153,300 square feet, the facility has space for eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene, CBP notes.
While CBP has recently said there has been a drop in migrant traffic in the El Paso Sector, local facilities are still relatively crowded, according to Border Report. At the height of the migrant surge, which started around September of last year, CBP held over 5,000 migrants at a time, according to El Paso’s data dashboard. Now, CBP is holding a weekly average of around 1,000 migrants.