El Paso

HHS to expand capacity at Tornillo shelter for unaccompanied migrant children

Operations set to continue until end of 2018

Facility in Tornillo expected to be extended

EL PASO, Texas - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday it plans to continue operations at a temporary shelter for migrant children at the Tornillo Port of Entry until the end of the year.

The children housed at the shelter entered the US without a parent or legal guardian. Tornillo is about 39 miles southeast of El Paso. 

The federal agency plans to expand capacity at the shelter site to 3,800 temporary beds. Officials said 1,400 of the beds will be placed on reserve status. 

"These temporary beds will be brought online incrementally as needed. We will continue to assess the need for this temporary shelter at Tornillo Land Port of Entry in Tornillo, Texas, based on the projected need for beds and current capacity of the program," a news release states.

The U.S. Border Patrol told the Associated Press it apprehended nearly 4,000 children unaccompanied by an adult at the southwest border in July, the most recent month for which figures are available. 
In Texas, 5,168 children were being held in government facilities in early August, about 500 children short of capacity, according to figures released by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and obtained by the AP.

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