PECOS, Texas (KOSA) – A year and a half after the federal government set up what it called a “temporary immigration detention facility” in Pecos, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has rather rapidly expanding, quietly building and modifying other facilities in Pecos as well.
“I don’t know if and when it’s going to stop,” Pecos City Manager Charles Lino said.
According to CBS News, the move is part of the Biden administration’s effort to provide up to 19,000 beds for migrant children.
This increase has made Pecos ground zero for immigration detention centers, and residents fear that the growing number of migrants will change the way people perceive the city.
“We would like to be known for the wonderful things that really happen in Pecos, and the great things that we have done, rather than our immigration camps,” said Derek Zubeldia, Republican Senate candidate for District 29.
Established in 2021, the original site of Target Lodge Pecos North was designed to accommodate approximately 2,000 children ages 13-17. Now called a foster care center with its own medical center and administrative offices, the number of children is expected to skyrocket.
“I’ve heard numbers as high as 5,000 kids here,” Lino said.
The reception center is not big enough to accommodate as many children and the workers needed to look after them. So the government quietly reclaimed land nearby, such as a men’s camp on the west side of town that is being renovated.
When completed, it is initially expected to accommodate around 1,000 children.
But even that is not enough space.
To care for the growing number of migrant children, another site is being built south of I-20 that will accommodate approximately 1,300 workers. The exploding numbers have already created a citywide parking shortage.
“Parking is so bad they’re going to put a parking lot on our rodeo grounds,” said Reeves County resident Stacey Roberts.
In total, Lino expects the population of Pecos, which is around 12,000, to grow by up to 40%.
In a press release in June, ORR told the city it had “approximately 1,305 children in care at the site,” but Pecos and Reeves County rarely receive updates on the number of children in care. children present or entering.
This lack of information has also confused residents, some of whom told CBS7 they believe a massive construction site at the intersection of B-20 on I-20 near Pecos was also a facility for immigrants. This is actually an Armadillo hotel.
“Collectively, we think as a city, with my city council, that we’re getting partial information,” Lino said. “I don’t know if we ever get the full story.”
The city also loses tax revenue because migrant camps are not subject to the same tax guidelines as men’s camps. Lino says the loophole resulted in the loss of around $300,000. This number only represents the losses of the initial site.
But the camps are on private land, and the government isn’t doing anything illegal, leaving Pecos and its people to watch and worry about.
“It’s a tidal wave,” Lino said.
NOTE: SCSseven contacted the Department of Health and Human Services for comment on the growing federal presence in Pecos, how long the camps will be in place, and the exact number of children and workers expected to be housed there. We have not received a response.
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