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Border Patrol clarifies tent facility at Life Downs

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 10:14 AM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Online concerns and even protests were the direct result of talks between Webb County and the federal government to build a soft-sided facility at Life Downs.

Last week, Commissioners Court granted Border Patrol access onto their property to study the possibility of building a processing center that will help the sector manage the border influx.

“Within the sector we’ve made over 91,000 arrests so far this year. That’s a 175% increase over last year so that really puts stress on our facilities,” Laredo’s Chief Patrol Agent Told us.

Agent Matthew Hudak says the logical approach is to build a facility similar to ones in the Rio Grande Valley, Del Rio and El Paso.

However, this space will be much smaller and will fit roughly 500 people.

Hudak says in talks with local government officials about what could accommodate their needs -- Life Downs was brought up.

“That was one of the ideas we had and the county had that idea as well. Just because the space is located right there off of the highway close to the loop, logistically it made sense.”>

He does emphasize that this will not be a detention center and will be isolated and secured.

“It’s really a facility that we can bring people in, go through the processing phases that we need to do to take care of that legal process, and then either from there they go to a detention center or they go to court for criminal proceedings if that’s appropriate. In the case of family units and others that we release from custody, then they can go to one of the non-governmental organizations or another avenue. It’s not a jail. It’s not to hold criminals to serve a jail sentence. “

If and when a lease agreement is made with the county, Hudak says their contractors can put up the facility in 30 days.

He also adds that it will be paid for by CBP.

We did ask the chief why refugees, immigrants and migrants aren’t tested for the coronavirus while under their care and he says that’s a program that DHS does not offer.

If the facility is built, Webb County has offered to provide testing kits and vaccines -- something Hudak says they can potentially work into the program.

More agents have been testing positive for COVID and Hudak says there have been break through cases which are vaccinated people who test positive but adds that their symptoms aren’t as severe.

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