EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has opened a new soft-sided migrant processing facility in Northeast El Paso that will come in handy when the agency again has to deal with large migrant surges.

The new facility on U.S. Highway 54 can process up to 1,000 migrants apprehended in the El Paso Sector, which runs from Hudspeth County in Far West Texas to the New Mexico-Arizona state line.

The new facility, which national media reports have described as a football field-sized white tent, will complement the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center at Hondo Pass, also in Northeast El Paso. That facility opened in the fall of 2020 and had a capacity of 1,040.

The CPC and other existing facilities operated far above their capacity at various points during the on-again, off-again 4-year-old migrant surge. In late September and mid-December, CBP at times had nearly 5,000 migrants in custody. The numbers have fallen precipitously since late December, with the City of El Paso’s online migrant dashboard reporting 745 people in CBP custody as of Wednesday, with only 570 migrant encounters. As of Wednesday, community releases of paroled migrants to area nonprofits were also close to falling under 100, with 113 reported on Wednesday..

CBP says migrant encounters have steadily increased since April of 2020.

“We are getting one of 10 soft-sided facilities from CBP on U.S. Highway 54 in Northeast El Paso. It is one more processing area in order to deal with this current migrant influx and any possible end to Title 42,” Carlos A. Rivera, acting supervisory U.S. Border Patrol agent, told Border Report last month. “We will be able to encounter these migrants, put them into our facilities to be able to process these migrants and move them along in their immigration pathway.”

The new soft-sided facility was built in Northeast El Paso because of its central location within the sector, CBP said.

New soft-sided facility being built to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection manage the migrant surge in El Paso, Texas, Jan. 04, 2023. (CBP photo by Edward Butron)

“The facility is weatherproof, climate-controlled, and is expected to provide ample areas for eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene,” CBP said Wednesday in a statement.

The facility is similar to other recently constructed soft-sided facilities. It provides a roof over 153,300 square feet of space and sits on 28 acres. 

There was no word on Wednesday morning regarding how many migrants were at the facility or how many CBP officers or contractors were on site to operate it.