KARNES CITY, Texas – Beginning on Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will temporarily use part of Karnes Family Residential Center to hold about 700 women, separate and apart from the area that will continue to be reserved for family units, ICE officials said.
ICE expects the situation will last about 90 days. Afterwards, ICE officials said it is expected Karnes will transition back to full-time use as a family residential center.
"The current volume of family units crossing the southwest border has overwhelmed ICE's limited transportation resources to the point that ICE is currently only able to route a limited number of families apprehended at that border to the one other family residential center in Texas -- the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX," ICE said in a statement. "Additionally, ICE adult detention space is near capacity. As such, ICE has determined that, at this time, Karnes will better meet operational needs by also serving partially as an adult detention facility."
Officials said ICE is reviewing its detention requirements and exploring options that will afford the agency the operational flexibility needed to house the full range of detainees in the agency's custody.
"ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security policy, considering the merits and factors of each case while adhering to current agency priorities, guidelines and legal mandates," ICE said in the statement. "Ensuring there are sufficient beds available to meet the current demand for detention space is crucial to the success of ICE's overall mission."
As of Friday, ICE officials said there were 63 people as part of family units at Karnes Family Residential Center, 1,025 people at the South Texas Family Residential Center and nine people at Berks Family Residential Center.