Border Patrol tent facility in Texas evacuated by storm

1 year 4 months 1 week ago Thursday, May 13 2021 May 13, 2021 May 13, 2021 8:40 AM May 13, 2021 in News - Local
By: The Associated Press
FILE - In this March 30, 2021 file photo, young migrants wait to be tested for COVID-19 at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas. The Biden administration is holding tens of thousands of asylum-seeking children in an opaque network of some 200 facilities that The Associated Press has now learned spans two dozen states and includes five shelters with more than 1,000 children packed inside. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool, File)

DONNA, Texas (AP) — A compound of tents to detain migrant children and families was evacuated for hours when struck by fierce winds in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, authorities said Wednesday.

All migrants at the Border Patrol's holding center in Donna, Texas, were moved to other Border Patrol facilities in Rio Grande Valley, parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. Operations resumed at the Donna Processing Facility Wednesday morning with new arrivals being admitted.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which has an adjoining tent compound designed for longer stays, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

The storm developed late Tuesday and brought overnight wind gusts over 70 mph (112 kph), knocking out power to tens of thousands of customers. 

It was not immediately known how many migrants were evacuated by the Border Patrol. CBP said it had 421 unaccompanied children in custody as of Tuesday. The agency held more than 4,000 migrants at Donna in late March — mostly unaccompanied children and some families — in a space designed for up to 250 under pandemic guidelines.

The Biden administration dramatically reduced time in Border Patrol custody as it massively expanded its network of Health and Human Services facilities. One of its 14 emergency intake centers adjoins the Border Patrol facility in Donna. As of Tuesday, Health and Human Services had 20,519 children in its care. 

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