A group of approximately 127 illegal aliens seeks entry into the U.S. at El Paso Sector on March 7, 2019. (Jaime Rodriguez Sr./CBP)

Temporary Housing for Migrants Moves Forward Under $36.9 Million Contract

A New York firm has been awarded a $36.9 million contract to quickly construct soft-sided temporary facilities to detain illegal immigrants on the Texas side of the border.

Deployed Resources LLC of Rome, N.Y., specializes in the rapid deployment of housing and related facilities for emergency response, including several hurricanes, and special events such as outdoor concerts. Their offerings include large-scale camps with rows of cots in climate-controlled frame tent facilities, hard-wall modular structures that can accommodate two to four people each, tactical operation centers, infrastructure including power generation and potable water, living essentials such as showers and laundry, and perimeter security.

The contract with Deployed Resources is for a four-month base period and includes four one-month options. Competition was limited as there was an April 30 target to get the facilities up and running.

The facilities will be built in El Paso and Donna, Texas, with the former expected to be operational May 5 and the latter expected to open May 1. CBP’s Office of Facilities and Asset Management is overseeing construction.

Each facility will have capacity for 500 people and include shower trailers, chemical toilets and sinks, laundry trailers, sleeping mats, lockers, air conditioning, and security with closed-circuit TV.

“The humanitarian and border security crisis on our Southwest border has stretched our resources and processing facilities to the breaking point,” said Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders. “These temporary facilities will support our efforts to process, care for and transfer the unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally each day.”

CBP said that the facilities are intended to hold migrants while they await transfer to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Health and Human Services.

The contract announcement came after Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan — the former CBP commissioner — traveled to McAllen, Texas, last week, spending time with Border Patrol and touring the Humanitarian Respite Center operated by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

“We recognize the strain that this humanitarian crisis has placed on service providers and communities such as yours along the border – it affects the men and women of DHS as well,” McAleenan said. “We hope to better coordinate our efforts to manage the migrants in our care. But we are also working to address the factors driving this crisis.”

McAleenan added that DHS is “taking aggressive action to mitigate the crisis and protect vulnerable people in our custody by expanding medical care, creating temporary facilities, improving transportation, using additional resources from across DHS while seeking continued support from interagency partners throughout the federal government.”

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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