Frio County prison now houses immigrants detained at Texas border

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A prison in Frio County that was cleared out to house people detained at the Texas border began receiving inmates yesterday.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced that people detained at the U.S. and Mexico border will be held at the Dolph Briscoe Unit in Frio County, about 70 miles away from San Antonio.

The detained individuals are people who have been arrested and charged with some sort of state offense, officials said. The individuals will be processed through the Val Verde County Jail before getting transferred to the Briscoe Unit in Dilley.

According to a press release, TDCJ has been working alongside the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to prepare the facility by temporarily air conditioning housing areas, additional training and licensing for staff in addition to supplementing medical and correctional staff.

TDCJ said staff from the University of Texas Medical Branch will provide medical care and staff from the Windham School District will provide educational services.

The news that people attempting to cross the border would be detained in correctional facilities was announced last month as part of Operation Lone Star by Texas Governor Greg Abbott when he talked publicly about the plan for the state to construct the border wall.

Operation Lone Star was announced in March when Abbott said the Texas Department of Public Safety with the Texas National Guard would work together in “high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas.”

“You are going to see a lot more people put into jail,” Abbott said on June 16. “People who were crossing the border illegally and trespassing, or people who were engaging in the smuggling process or drug smuggling process, or any of these crimes occurring anywhere.”