AUSTIN, Texas — A massive Border Patrol facility in El Paso erected to ensure immigrants were not detained outside has blown past its four-digit capacity, leaving hundreds of people to face near-freezing temperatures outdoors, the Washington Examiner has learned.
Since Friday, Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas, have interdicted more than 10,000 noncitizens who illegally entered the United States from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, according to data shared by the city of El Paso.
The Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector Central Processing Center is legally permitted to hold 1,040 people inside. As of Tuesday morning, the CPC was at capacity with another 700 people outside, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman authorized to speak with the press.
“Although we’ve had pretty high numbers, we’re able to handle this surge because of the improvements that have been happening in sector since 2019,” the CBP official said.
The temperature in El Paso dropped to 35 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday evening. Immigrants were provided Mylar aluminum blankets while they were held outside.
The CPC was built after a lesser number of people illegally crossed the border in El Paso in 2019. Detention conditions came under national scrutiny as Border Patrol stations throughout the region became overwhelmed, resulting in immigrants being detained for weeks longer than the three-day limit, held outside in extreme heat, and unaccompanied children were held at a station in Clint, Texas.
Democrats, led by Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) of El Paso, declared the situation to be a humanitarian crisis and criticized the Trump administration for holding immigrants outside and in deplorable conditions. Congress funded the creation of a massive facility that would serve as the one-point stop for processing and prevent a repeat of the 2019 incident.
CBP wrote in an email that the agency had surged agents from the neighboring Big Bend Sector to El Paso, as well as Office of Field Operations officers who work at the ports of entry, to help process immigrants in custody.