SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is beginning to hear cases in a temporary hearing facility for migrants looking to come to the United States.
“These are soft-sided facilities,” Laredo port chief Albert Flores told KTSA News Thursday. “In our case, it is soft-sided, but it also has a couple of modular buildings.”
The people filling those facilities will primarily be brought in from Mexico, where they are expected to wait for their hearings.
“For admission from countries other than Mexico arriving to the U.S. by land through Mexico illegally or through proper documentation may be returned and required to wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of the immigration proceedings,” Flores explained. “We are basically walking them from the bridge span down through a covered walkway into this soft-sided facility.”
The port chief said the government has been processing people for these hearings since mid-summer. Now, the hearings are set to begin.
Flores expects 150 to 300 people to have hearings each day in the new facility.
Once their hearing is heard, they will be sent back to Mexico for their next hearing date.
However, if a migrant feared going back to Mexico, the government will investigate that claim.
“If they do find that his claim is credible, they will make arrangements to process him and have him detained in the U.S. while awaiting the next hearing,” Flores explained. “If they find that his claim is not justifiable, then he is returned back to Mexico where he will be given a schedule date to return back to the facility for a merit hearing.”
Flores said this new arrangement will help them help the migrants looking to come to the United States.
“It’s obviously going to help the process and expedite the court hearings for these people,” the port chief said. “The Laredo Port of Entry is working very hard to keep this country safe and keeping legitimate trade and travel going.”