If you've been by the Best Western by the El Paso Airport and noticed there's a big fence around it, there's a reason for that. That hotel is being used by the United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to temporarily house migrant families. A recent contract with Best Western's parent company, the San Antonio based Endeavor, will provide shelter though September 30th. The contract is said to be worth about $86.9 million.

In an issued statement, ICE said:

Custody is intended to be short term, generally less than 72 hours, to allow for immigration enforcement processing and establishing appropriate terms and conditions of release while their immigration proceedings continue.

Officials also said the families receive COVID-19 tests and medical attention, as well as food, and transportation to bus stations and airports once their travel arrangements have been made.

This is all a part of an effort by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide emergency temporary housing in Texas and Arizona to migrant families.

Back in December, there was a report that more than 1,200 cases of COVID-19 in El Paso that could be attributed to the poor handling of containing COVID-19 by ICE at their facilities. A study found that counties that have detention facilities saw a quicker spike in positive COVID-19 cases. Co-author of that study, Gregory Hooks, a professor of sociology at McMaster University in Canada said:

Do the places where (ICE) detains people have an otherwise unexplainable spike in cases? The answer is yes. The statistics show that that didn’t happen by chance — it’s systematic. Where you have ICE, you have more cases than you would expect otherwise.


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