McALLEN, Texas (AP) — The U.S. government plans to turn an empty 55,000-square foot warehouse in South Texas into a processing facility for unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally, according to construction permits obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request Monday.
The permits reveal plans for four fence-enclosed pods inside a corrugated steel warehouse in McAllen that could eventually accommodate about 1,000 children. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been arrested since October after entering the United States illegally, a 99 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. About three-quarters of those children have been arrested in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas.