Fact check: New Tucson facility is housing center for migrants waiting for processing

·3 min read

The claim: There's a new child sex trafficking facility in Tucson, Arizona

A Facebook post is spreading misinformation about a newly constructed temporary housing facility for migrants on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.

"This is a child sex trafficking facility here in Tucson," the text overlapping an image falsely claims. "The address is 4300 E Los Reales Rd by the airport."

The image is a screenshot of various Snapchat personal stories, but the posters' usernames have been blacked out. It's been shared more than 600 times since it was posted June 8 on Facebook.

The user didn't respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.

The explanation for the new building is simple: It's a housing center for immigrants who are waiting to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Facility is migrant housing center

The images of migrants being held in cramped CBP detention centers due to overcrowding continue to catch Americans' attention.

A new facility in Tucson that could house up to 500 migrants aims to address the overcrowding the city has seen since 2020.

The tent-like facility opened April 29. It will hold between 150 and 200 migrants (due to COVID-19 restrictions) waiting to be processed by the border patrol.

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The temporary housing center is located at 4550 East E. Los Reales Road, which is on the same lot listed on the social media post.

The 80,000-square-foot facility will be used to "safely and expeditiously process individuals in U.S. Border Patrol custody," CBP said in a press release.

Between March 2020 and March 2021, the Tucson sector saw an 83% increase in unaccompanied children crossing the border, CBP reported. Family members encountered during that period fell by 53%, but the number of single adults crossing there rose by more than 200%.

The increase of migrants was partly due to worsening economic conditions in Latin American countries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP said in the press release.

More: CBP: More than 180,000 migrants encountered at the border, but fewer unaccompanied children and families

At the beginning of April, before the facility opened, around 75 migrant families were staying in local hotels while waiting to be transported to their final destinations, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said in a statement.

The temporary housing center has a processing room, group sleeping pods with mats, an outside open area, showers and bathrooms, according to photos published by CBP.

A similar facility was built in Yuma in April to house migrants who are also waiting to be processed.

Both facilities, like many others across the country, are stocked with basic necessities for the migrants, including clothing, shoes, diapers, toothbrushes and food, images posted by CBP show.

Our rating: False

We rate the claim that a new facility in Tucson is a child sex trafficking facility FALSE, based on our research. The facility is actually a Customs and Border Protection temporary migrant housing center, according to the agency's press release, which places the facility in the same area listed on the social media post.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Facility in Tucson is temporary center to house migrants

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