DILLEY, Texas (AP) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday that a fourth center to house families apprehended while crossing the Southwest border into the U.S. will eventually hold 2,400 people in Texas.
ICE will operate the residential facility when it opens in November in Dilley, Texas, about 70 miles southwest of San Antonio. It will house immigrant adults with children caught entering the country illegally.
The South Texas Family Residential Center will be the fourth such facility, three of which have opened in recent months following a surge in the number of immigrant families crossing the Southwest border. It's meant to expedite their return to their home countries and deter others from embarking on the journey, according to a statement from ICE. Other centers have opened in Karnes City and Artesia, New Mexico. There had been one existing facility for immigrant families in Leesport, Pennsylvania.
The Dilley center initially will house 480 people and will eventually hold 2,400. The facility, like others for families, will provide medical care, social workers, educational services and access to legal counsel, according to ICE.
Shortly before that announcement, a coalition of immigrant advocacy groups hosted a conference call for reporters in which they called on the U.S. government to stop its expansion of family detention centers.
Advocates from We Belong Together and the National Immigrant Justice Center said that women and children should not be detained while waiting for their immigration cases to move forward.