In a statement to Fox News, ICE said: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will revert the Karnes County Detention Center (KCDC) back to a family residential center in the near future. The facility has been recently used to house adult women. Additional intake at the facility has been temporarily suspended. During the transition back to housing families, those detainees at KCDC may be transferred to other detention facilities.”
The facility had stopped housing migrant families after an uptick in border crossings, which have since dropped, The Washington Post reported.
Family apprehensions at the southern border declined over the summer, from 70 percent of all migrants taken into custody in July to 55 percent in August, the newspaper added.
The Karnes County facility used to hold up to 800 parents and children. The families usually would be detained before an initial screening to judge whether they qualified for asylum.
The Texas center is ringed by 15-foot fences and has security cameras monitoring movements. It also offers bilingual children’s books in the library, classes, TVs and an artificial turf soccer field.
Inside the Karnes City center, there are five or six beds to a room typically shared by a couple of families. Cinderblock walls are painted pastel colors, said officials, who added that the facilities are run by private prison operators, not humanitarian organizations, as is the case with shelters for unaccompanied immigrant children.
Most families in the past spent up to a few weeks in the facilities and would be released once they passed initial asylum screenings. Then, each would receive a date to appear before an immigration judge.
Those who did not pass initial screenings could seek additional review in a video conference with a judge, a process that would last about six weeks.
Fox News’ Ashley Cozzolino contributed to this report.