Feds will house immigrant families at detention center near San Antonio

By Susan Carroll | July 18, 2014

Immigration officials will start housing families at the Karnes County Civil Detention Center southeast of San Antonio, a county judge confirmed on Friday.

"This facility, which is a relatively secure facility, will be used to house these families with children that have been caught at the border," said Richard Butler, the Karnes County judge.

The 608-bed facility operated by The GEO Group Inc. opened in February 2012 and housed "low-risk" male detainees. Officials said the facility is expected to start housing families by mid-August in response to a steep increase in the numbers of Central American parents caught with children at the border.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman declined comment on Friday.

The announcement is the latest effort by the Obama administration to find more detention bed space for tens of thousands of Honduran, Guatemalan and El Salvadoran parents and children caught at the South Texas border this year.

This spring, ICE had only one family detention center in Pennsylvania with the capacity to hold about 90 people.