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Immigrants to be Housed in 'Suites' Near San Antonio

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Posted: Jul 31, 2014 11:39 AM

Updated: Jul 31, 2014 6:35 PM

KARNES CITY - Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday will open a remodeled detention center three hours north of the Rio Grande Valley.

The Karnes City center will house women and children who entered the country illegally through the Valley.

The 532-bed facility underwent a massive renovation to house women and children. The center housed only adult immigrants in the past.

Immigrants will be at the facility for an average of 23 days.

The feds said the rooms will be referred to as "suites." The suites are furnished with bunk beds, play tables for children, flat-screen television sets and landline telephones.

"I will refer to everyone in this facility as a resident. ICE generally refers to people in custody as detainees," ICE San Antonio Field Office Director Enrique Lucero said.

Lucero oversaw the transformation of the center.

The center has a soccer field covered with artificial turf, basketball courts, ping pong tables and a weight room. Officials also have plans to install a playground.

A charter school from nearby San Antonio will provide schooling and access to a library for the immigrant children.

The immigrants will get medical screenings. Children will receive physicals within 24 hours of arriving at the center and women within a week.

"There is a dentist on site," Lucero said.

There is a room where the immigrants will get to pick new clothes. Every illegal immigrant will be able to choose six sets of clothes, including shoes and socks.

"While residents are here ... we will provide a safe and humane environment," Lucero said.

The feds estimate it will cost approximately $74,000 a day to house 532 immigrants at the center. That's an average of $140 a day per person.

Officials did not disclose how much the government spent to refurbish the center.

Topics: immigration, rio grande valley, karnes city, detention center, suites, residents, central america, south texas, obama, obama administration

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