U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced the approval to build a new soft-sided processing center. The announcement comes as President Joe Biden announced the cancellation of Trump administration policies that are now expected to create a surge in illegal immigration.
Former CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan told Breitbart Texas the building process began “in anticipation of potentially losing Title 42 and/or the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP)” when Biden took office. The new administration’s stated goals combined with “the increased flow of migrants trying to illegally enter due to the perception related to Biden’s open border policies,” he stated.
“We knew our facilities would become overwhelmed like they were in 2019,” the now-former commissioner explained. “Bottom line — we’re getting ready for another illegal immigration surge.”
“CBP is moving forward with plans for the mobilization of soft-side facilities (SSF) in Donna, Texas,” CBP officials said in a written statement. “A lease with the city of Donna was awarded on January 15, 2021.” The agency received a notice to proceed on the day before Biden’s inauguration. The official reported the “processing facility” should be completed in about 30 days.
During President Biden’s first day in office, he signed executive orders to end the MPP program that allowed officials to return “asylum-seekers” to wait in Mexico for a future hearing date.
Morgan said the MPP program effectively ended the catch and release program of the Obama administration. “Without the remaining Title 42 protocols, the current levels of border crossings would become a crisis overnight.”
The Title 42 Coronavirus protection protocols put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorize Border Patrol agents to return illegal border crossers back to Mexico or their country of origin. Morgan previously told Breitbart that 90 percent of apprehended migrants are returned within two hours of their arrest.
Breitbart reached out to CBP and the CDC on Thursday to inquire about MPP and Title 42. Both agencies referred questions to the White House and did not respond as of press time.
CBP officials did say the new Donna processing center will be about 20 miles from the Rio Grande Valley Sector’s existing processing center.
Currently, Guatemalan officials are waging an all-out effort to stop nearly 10,000 mostly Honduran migrants from making their way through that country to Mexico. The migrants illegally pushed their way into Guatemala over the weekend and faced a massive effort by Guatemalan security forces to stop them.
Guatemalan officials reported that some of the Honduran migrants presented fake COVID-19 test results as they attempted to enter the country.
Mexico issued “a respectful exhortation to the Honduran authorities to attend, in a timely manner, this irregular flow of migrants, in such a way as to prevent further displacements.”
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei called on Honduran authorities to “contain the mass exit of its inhabitants,” ABC News reported. “The government of Guatemala regrets this violation of national sovereignty and calls on the governments of Central America to take measures to avoid putting their inhabitants at risk amid the health emergency due to the pandemic.”
An unidentified senior Biden transition team member told NBC News that the migrants should not come to the U.S. — at this time.
“There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” the official said.
Both Mexico and Guatemala called on Honduras to do more to prevent their citizens from illegally trying to migrate to the U.S.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.