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Tue Dec 16, 2014, 02:03 AM

South Texas migrant detention center, the nation's largest, opens

Photo: Jennifer Whitney/The New York Times
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials prepared for a visit Monday by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to the new 50-acre migrant detention center in Dilley, the largest such facility for migrants in the country.

DILLEY — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson came to this South Texas outpost on Monday to inaugurate a 50-acre detention center that will hold up to 2,400 migrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, becoming the largest immigration detention facility in the country.

Though President Barack Obama has offered work permits and protection from deportation to millions of unauthorized immigrants, he also ordered new policies to reinforce border security, hoping to prevent a new surge of illegal crossings. Johnson presided over the opening of the center in Dilley, 85 miles northeast of Laredo, to draw more attention to the border security pieces of the president’s executive actions, in response to the furor those actions caused.

The center is specially designed to house migrant women and their children as their deportation cases move through the courts.

The first wave of about 30 immigrants will begin arriving in coming weeks and the 80 tan, two-bedroom cabins will eventually hold up to 480 people. Housing being constructed nearby will push capacity to 2,400 by around May.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20141215-south-texas-migrant-detention-center-the-nation-s-largest-opens.ece

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