DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced plans to construct new migrant detention facilities in Arizona and Texas in a recent statement. Breitbart Texas has learned those facilities will be in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas.
According to law enforcement sources, the facilities are intended to ease overcrowding at Border Patrol stations. The facilities will be constructed from the ground up and are similar in nature to the soft-sided facilities currently being constructed in Eagle Pass, Texas. These facilities will be managed and operated as processing centers by Border Patrol.
The rapid movement of materials and equipment seen recently at the construction site in Eagle Pass shows the administration is anticipating the influx to continue. Secretary Mayorkas says swift removals for some migrants under the Trump era CDC emergency COVID-19 order are still occurring in a statement released yesterday. Despite the message, the DHS plan to increase detention is likely a sign that the department recognizes the influx of unaccompanied children and migrant family units will continue–if not worsen.
Acknowledging the challenge is worsening, Mayorkas touches on the detention and transfer of unaccompanied migrant children left in Border Patrol custody for far longer than current law allows.
The Border Patrol facilities have become crowded with children and the 72-hour timeframe for the transfer of children from the Border Patrol to HHS is not always met. HHS has not had the capacity to intake the number of unaccompanied children we have been encountering. I describe below the actions we have taken and the plans we are executing to handle this difficult situation successfully.
Managing the additional detention facilities and providing humanitarian care to thousands of detainees will be present additional challenges for Border Patrol, which is already struggling to balance the humanitarian needs of thousands of unaccompanied children with actual patrol duties.
Mayorkas is looking to augment the Border Patrol and HHS from within the non-law enforcement ranks of his department. According to his statement, Mayorkas added “In two days, we recruited more than 560 DHS volunteers to support HHS in our collective efforts to address the needs of the unaccompanied children.”
One Border Patrol agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity said, “The DHS volunteers were great when they were here in 2019, it allows us to get some agents back to the field, but they can’t process for us. That’s where the major hurdle for us is, it takes hours to process each minor and family unit member,” the agent relayed. “Those are hours away from the field and the flow is worse this time around,” he added.
A request for information from CBP Office of Public Affairs has not been answered as of press time.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX