The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security spoke to reporters about the future of a temporary soft-sided, or tent, facility for migrants in Yuma last week.
When the temporary tent facility for migrants at the Yuma Sector Border Patrol station opened in late June, the chief patrol agent told reporters it would be open for four months, with the option to remain open after that.
Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan visited the facility on Aug. 8 and said that its future an ongoing conversation between himself and Border Patrol officials.
“So we’re going to constantly reassess the facilities we need based on the traffic and flow," McAleenan said. "We are seeing here in the Yuma Sector they had almost 500 crossings a day at the peak of the crisis. We’re down under 100 now. That’s great progress but that’s due to Mexico’s efforts on interdicting those smuggling routes.”
Reporters were only allowed to visit a tent housing family units and were asked not to interview migrants. Single men, single women and unaccompanied children were housed in separate tents.
The Yuma structure opened on June 29. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the facility is providing relief to a region that experienced a 350 percent increase in apprehensions between May 2018 and May 2019, apprehending 14,000 migrants in a single month. They said the new climate controlled facility keeps migrants and agents comfortable while the summer sun scorches outside.
CBP officials said they have plans for more permanent modular solutions along the border, including new sites in Yuma and El Paso creating space for incoming family units by increasing capacity by 1,800 people.