Edinburg prison now second in Texas to house arrested immigrants

A state prison in Hidalgo County is now the second unit the state of Texas is using to house immigrants charged with trespassing as they enter the country.

As of Thursday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Manuel A. Segovia Unit in Edinburg, which is near the Hidalgo County jail, had received 42 immigrant inmates, according to Robert Hurst, TDCJ communications officer.

Only immigrants arrested in Kinney County have been sent to the facility, Hurst said.

The facility is the second one in the state to be repurposed to detain immigrants arrested through Operation Lone Star, an operation focused on targeting illegal activity on Texas roadways that Gov. Greg Abbott started in March.

Later, in July, the governor announced that immigrants who trespass through private property en route to the United States would be arrested.

The Briscoe Unit in Dilley became the first to detain those immigrants in July, as reported by the Texas Tribune. The next month, on Aug. 10, Texas Commission on Jail Standards officials visited the Segovia Unit for “coordination efforts,” according to public records obtained by The Monitor.

“Like the Briscoe Unit, staff would be retained, trained, and licensed as jailers and any necessary alterations to the unit would occur,” Jeremy Desel, then director of communications for TDCJ, said via a statement in August.

The Segovia Unit in Edinburg has the capacity to house up to 1,224 inmates.

Hurst stated air conditioning units and fire alarms were installed at the Segovia Unit in advance of its use to detain immigrants.