U.S. Opens Largest Immigration Detention Center, Claims It Will Be a Deterrent to Border Crossings

On Monday, the largest immigration detention center in the United States was opened in South Texas, as a provision of President Obama’s recent executive order on immigration.

The New York Times reported that the center, which is part of Obama’s effort to “reinforce the southwest border to prevent a new surge of illegal immigration,” covers 50 acres of land in the town of Dilley, and will “hold up to 2,400 migrants who have illegally crossed the border.

The facility, which has been named the South Texas Family Residential Center, will house families, mainly women and children, while their deportation cases go through the courts.

Reuters reported that the center “has several dozen small cottages where families can live,” and it “includes medical facilities, a school and recreational facilities.”

According to The Dallas Morning News, Republicans “have assailed Obama’s measures, saying he overstepped his constitutional authority with a sweeping program of deportation reprieves,” and they are predicting that it will “attract another wave of migrants like the one in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas last summer.”

The New York Times reported that the Corrections Corporation of America, which will be in charge of running the center, “estimates the cost at $296 a day for each detainee.”

Jeh C. Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, attended the grand opening of the detention center, and stated that the United States’ borders are “not open to illegal migration,” and that with the new detention center, it will now be more likely that future immigrants “will be detained and sent back.”

If Congress is interested with me in supporting the border security measure we are outlining here today, it should act immediately on our budget request for fiscal 2015,” said Johnson. “Everyone agrees that border security is important. Now it’s time to step up and partner with this department to help support that.

The opening of the detention center in Texas comes less than two weeks after Texas led a coalition of 17 states suing Obama on the claim that his executive order to grant amnesty to up to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants violated constitutional limits on presidential power.