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Migrant Surge: Annunciation House director tells CBP to build new processing center ‘now’

As thousands of Central American and Cuban migrants arrive in the Borderland, the space to house the migrants seeking asylum is becoming scarce.

Ruben Garcia, the head of Annunciation House, told ABC-7 the Department of Homeland Security needs to build a new $192-million Central Processing Center lawmakers approved earlier this month.

“Get it open, and get it open now,” said Garcia, “The opening of this processing center in west El Paso is going to be a vast improvement.”

Plans to build that processing center have been put on hold for now.

Wednesday, Annunciation House had to tell Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) it had no more room for migrants because it is already providing shelter for thousands. ICE reaches out to Annunciation House first when it plans to release asylum seekers into the community.

Since Annunciation House is overwhelmed with the number of migrants it is already sheltering, ICE on Tuesday reached out to the Caminos de Vida church in the Lower Valley, dropping off an estimated 150 immigrants with only three hours notice. The church mobilized and put the word out what they needed, and the public responded. People dropped off food, blankets and clothes for adults and children.

As many as 530 immigrants from Central America are expected to be released to shelters in El Paso Wednesday, even though hospitality shelters are already bursting at the seams. Meantime, thousands of migrants keep arriving in Ciudad Juarez, across the border. Shelters in the city are also overwhelmed.

“More refugees are arriving to Ciudad Juarez. And then if they’re not allowed to present at ports of entry, then I think what’s gonna happen is they’re simply gonna continue to cross illegally at different crossing points along the border, along the El Paso sector,” said Garcia.

On Monday, a group of Central Americans turned themselves into agents along the Rio Grande. On Wednesday, a group of 180 crossed into Sunland Park, New Mexico.

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