Influx of unaccompanied minors has Fort Brown beyond capacity

Fort Brown may be falling short of 72-hour rule

Eric Gay
Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville,Texas. CPB provided media tours Wednesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:19 pm
BY TY JOHNSON, Staff Writer

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official hinted today that the Ft. Brown Border Patrol Station is not meeting its federal requirement to turn over all unaccompanied children to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours of their apprehension.

The official, who spoke only on background and did not want to be identified, would not speculate as to what the facility’s average turnover time was.

“We’d like to move faster,” the official said during a press briefing following a brief tour of the facility, which has emerged as a magnet for the Rio Grande Valley’s growing population of unaccompanied minors.

The official refused to comment on whether the Fort Brown facility was falling behind on its federal obligations.

Under federal law, immigration officials have three days to turn over unaccompanied minors to DHHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement from when agents learn the child is alone.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent said the facility, which is meant to hold 250 detainees, is at roughly double that capacity