Feds Open Second Holding Facility for Migrant Kids

Donna Facility
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Border Patrol officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) dignitaries were on hand for the opening of Texas’ second temporary holding facility.

The facility is being opened to house the flood of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) migrating mostly from Central America.

The new facility is being opened near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge. This is located 16 miles east of the town of Hidalgo. Officials stated the new facility will house up to 500, according to a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from CBP.

“This effort is designed to minimize the impact to border security operations while fulfilling our humanitarian efforts,” Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor Commander Manuel Padilla, Jr. said in a written statement. “We will work closely with all our partner agencies to maintain efficient operations.”

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The new facility will reportedly remain open until officials see a decrease in the flow if UACs and FMUAs being apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector. Officials will hold migrants in the facility while Border Patrol agents, who have been pulled off the front line from other sectors with their own border surge issues, process the UACs and FMUAs before turning them over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement, or ICE Enforcement Removal Operations agents depending on the alien’s circumstances. It is possible that some will be housed in the facility for up to 72 hours, officials stated.

“CBP officers and agents remain committed to upholding our border security mission and enforcing our immigration laws while treating those with whom we come in contact with the highest degree of professionalism, dignity and respect,” Laredo Field Office Director of Field Operations David P. Higgerson added in the statement.

Border Patrol officials announced on November 12 they were deploying additional agents to south Texas to deal with the record flood of illegal immigrants from Central America.

“Illicit networks facilitate the majority of cross-border activity and smugglers prey on migrants by extorting money, confining them in deplorable conditions, and often physically and sexually assaulting them,” Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro wrote at the time in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Despite these risks, migrants continue to entrust their lives each day to these unscrupulous criminals.”

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee on earlier this month, Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan created additional incentive for illegal immigrants to risk their lives by paying ruthless drug cartels to smuggle them to the U.S. During his testimony, Chief Morgan admitted that the agency’s policy of releasing illegal immigrants encourages more illegal immigration, National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 President Art Del Cueto tweeted.

The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) strongly objected to the content of Chief Morgan’s testimony and stated that in an Op-Ed published Wednesday by Breitbart Texas. The union, which represents the approximately 16,500 of our nation’s Border Patrol agents, wrote that the agency deliberately scheduled the union’s President Brand Judd to other duties, making it impossible for him to offer testimony on behalf of the agents he represents.

Border Patrol agents are being temporarily transferred from the Tucson, San Diego, and Del Rio Sectors to the McAllen and Weslaco Centralized Processing Centers. Their duty is to increase the screening and processing of the unauthorized immigrants with a focus on UACs and FMUAs, she stated.

Nine days after the announcement of the Border Patrol agents’ redeployment, officials announced the first opening of a temporary holding facility near the CBP Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry. The facility is located about 40 miles east of El Paso, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas.

In the month of October, the first month of the new fiscal year, the El Paso Sector captured 1,481 FMUAs and 626 UACs, Breitbart Texas reported. The total number of apprehensions in the sector was reported to be 3,973. These numbers represent an increase in FMUA apprehensions of 457 percent over the same month the previous year. UAC apprehensions were up by 162 percent in the El Paso Sector.

HHS officials announced in late November that they are overwhelmed with the flood of immigrant children and families. To deal with the budgetary crisis, the department is stripping allocated funds from medical research and services for American citizens. During the last month alone, an average of 255 UACs per day were placed in the custody of the ORR after being processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, according to the Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughn.

For now, the department is making drastic cuts to health services for American citizens. Outgoing HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell has directed that $167 million be cut from other programs to cover the costs of services for illegal immigrant minors through December 9 when the current continuing resolution expires, Vaughn wrote.

President-Elect Donald Trump announced on November 29 that he will appoint Georgia Representative Tom Price to replace Burwell as HHS Secretary, Breitbart News reported. After being confirmed by the Senate, the new HHS Secretary will have to deal with this issue while also managing the next president’s goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare

During the month of October, the apprehensions of FMUAs increased by nearly 37 percent over September, according to information obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials by Breitbart Texas. Those numbers have been increasing nearly every month leading up to the election since January. October also saw an increase in the apprehensions of UACs by nearly 19 percent. Those numbers also were increasing nearly every month during 2016. Total apprehensions of all illegal aliens crossing the border in October rose by nearly 17 percent.

Of the total number of family units apprehended all along our southwest border with Mexico (13,124), 8,726 were apprehended in the RGV Sector. A total of 11,183 FMUAs were apprehended in Texas alone. A total of 6,754 UACs were also apprehended in October. Of those, 65 percent (4,093) were apprehended in the RGV sector and 5,518 in all of Texas.

“The smugglers learned in 2014 that they could tie up Border Patrol agents as babysitters and keep us from our primary mission of stopping illegal border crossings and drug smuggling,” U.S. Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera told Breitbart Texas in his capacity as president of National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in an interview on October 26. “When are we going to get back on the border?”

“In 2014, it was primarily the Rio Grande Valley Sector that saw the massive numbers of families and children,” Cabrera explained. “Now we are seeing increases in every sector–some as high as 200 percent.”

New numbers for the month of November are expected to be reported next week.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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