UPDATED 11:01 AM PT — Friday, May 3, 2019
Just across the southern border in Texas, the U.S. government built two large tents in the hopes of providing some additional shelter to the overwhelming number of migrants crossing the border. Officials said they are having a hard time coping with the lack of space for migrants, which has led those crossing the border to sleep on the floors of Border Patrol stations or in military-style tents.
The tents, located in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley, are each designed to hold 500 people with bathrooms, recreation areas and sleeping quarters.
In a recent statement, officials said the tents were built “to support efforts to process, care for, and transfer the unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally each day.”
The tents are slated to be in use for at least the next four-months, and come with a price tag. The government estimates it will cost around $37 million to operate the facilities.
El Paso has reportedly become the center of the Central American migrant crisis, with thousands flocking to the border each day.
“These installations are for 500 people. It’s not going to solve the problem we’re seeing, which is the large number of apprehensions that we have seen in this sector since October last year. This will help us to process a little bit better.”
— Ramiro Cordero, Border Patrol agent
On Tuesday, Border Patrol agents reported arresting around 1,100 migrants in the El Paso sector. Additionally, Border Patrol said it closed down drug enforcement checkpoints around El Paso. Officials said the checkpoints are now being used to process illegal immigrants. The agency said the checkpoints can be reopened if the flow of migrants slows down.