January 16, 2020 / Modified jan 16, 2020 9:58 a.m.

Judge overseeing Border Patrol trial may order tents for Tucson Sector

Government attorneys said the number of families seeking asylum in the sector is already far higher than the last fiscal year.

Border Patrol vehicle fence hero A Border Patrol vehicle at the fence on the U.S.-Mexico border near Nogales.
AZPM Staff

The federal judge overseeing a trial on the Border Patrol’s treatment of migrants in its custody may have come up with a solution for the agency.

During questioning Wednesday, Judge David Bury asked assistant chief patrol agent Christopher De Freitas whether tents could work as short-term detention centers. De Freitas, who oversees processing centers in the Tucson Sector, acknowledged they would.

The tents went up in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Yuma last year in response to the surge of migrants that overwhelmed the agency.

They could sleep up to 500 people and provide a secure and clean area for them while they await processing.

DeFreitas had testified to the lack of room in the Tucson processing centers and that they were never intended to be slept in.

Attorneys for the U.S. government warned that the number of families seeking asylum in the Tucson Sector this fiscal year is already far higher than the last.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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