The U.S. opened its largest immigration detention facility yesterday in South Texas, drawing attention to border security measures that are part of President Obama's hotly debated executive actions on immigration, the New York Times reports. While Obama has offered protection from deportation and work permits to millions of unauthorized immigrants, he has ordered efforts to reinforce the southwest border to prevent a new surge of illegal immigration. The 50-acre center in Dilley, 85 miles northeast of Laredo, will hold up to 2,400 who have illegally crossed the border and is designed to hold women and their children.
Standing on a dirt road lined with cabins in a barren compound enclosed by fencing, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson delivered a blunt message to families without legal papers considering a trip to the United States: “It will now be more likely that you will be detained and sent back.” Republicans have assailed Mr. Obama's measures, saying he overstepped his constitutional authority with a program of deportation reprieves that they predict will attract another wave of migrants like the one in Texas' Rio Grande Valley this summer. Critics like Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities as if they are criminals.”