The center is located in a storefront across from the downtown Greyhound Bus station, the arrival point for hundreds of families recently bused into the city by U.S. immigration authorities. Around 76,000 immigrants were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in February, the highest number in more than a decade.
“We set this up to get us through the weekend because folks are getting real tired," Colleen Bridger, interim assistant city manager, told TPR. "We’ve had a lot of people coming in late Thursday night, late Friday night. And our non-profit partners were just stretched beyond their abilities.”
Catholic Charities and other organizations are assisting families with food and temporary housing until they reach their destinations elsewhere in the United States. City officials told TPR they're unsure how long the pop-up center will stay open.
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she was expanding a Trump administration policy that forces some non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their asylum cases work their way through U.S. courts. She also ordered the Border Patrol to speed up plans to send 750 additional officers to the border.
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