Surge in Illegal Border Crossings Leads US to Open New Facility

Facility opened new to help process unaccompanied minors and families.

— -- In response to the surge in immigrants crossing along the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) opened a new facility Saturday to help process unaccompanied minors and families.

While the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended was still down from the surge in 2014, it was up significantly over last year.

Children, families and individuals continue to flee the violence of Central America making their way to the U.S. border. There has also been an increase in the numbers of people seeking asylum at the border.

The temporary, tented CBP facility, which was opened in Tornillo, Texas, 40 miles east of El Paso, can hold up to 500 people. It will be opened for 30 days, pending any changes in the volume of people entering the U.S. in that region illegally, according to CBP.

"CBP's officers and agents are rising to this challenge with professionalism while maintaining efficient border operations," said El Paso Field Office Director Hector Mancha in a statement.

The facility will be used as overflow space to process individuals apprehended in the El Paso area. Once families and children are processed by CBP they are turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"Our borders cannot be open to illegal migration. We must, therefore, enforce the immigration laws consistent with our priorities," said Johnson in a statement at the time.

DHS currently prioritized removals of undocumented immigrants who recently crossed the border and those that are convicted of serious crimes.

Serena Marshall contributed to this story.