Soft-Sided Migrant Facility being Setup in Brownsville

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BROWNSVILLE – Tents are under construction at the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville as part of processing migrants under the Migrant Protection Protocols.

So far, the framework is still being put in place, but the soft-sided roofing is already stretched over the corners.

Crews were seen working on it since Wednesday morning. More framing materials were strewn alongside the structure.

Soft-sided facilities have been planned as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols, a program that returns asylum seekers to Mexico to wait out their immigration court hearing.

MPP was implemented in Brownsville last week. It was also initiated in Laredo earlier this month.

During a city council meeting held on July 1 after meeting with Customs and Border Protection officials, Laredo city leaders discuss the tents at the Brownsville Gateway Bridge.

They say they were told the tents would hold approximately 64 virtual immigration courtrooms.

DHS officials sent a statement:

"The federal government has begun the process of developing temporary, soft-sided structures to serve as MPP-only hearing sites, in order to address the limitations of the current immigration court locations. A contract has been awarded for temporary court facilities to be erected in the cities of Laredo and Brownsville, and DHS expects construction to begin within the next two weeks.

The expansion of MPP will exceed the capacity at existing immigration courts, requiring DHS and DOJ to establish additional court space in and around the Ports of Entry. Building new soft-sided hearing locations will allow the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to address MPP dockets in a more targeted manner, resulting in cases being completed more efficiently. Building permanent immigration courts would take more time and limit flexibility in responding to changing migratory patterns.

DHS is evaluating options for additional locations along the Southwest Border where these temporary structures would provide immediate relief."

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