Council members agreed that having the tent complex near the entrance of the city will send the wrong message to those visiting Laredo.
During a meeting, city officials discussed the request made by Customs and Border Protection to place a temporary tent complex at the old import lot between bridges one and two. They clarified this is just to process asylum claims and it will not be a detention center. However, the interim city managers say there are other concerns, such as flooding and noise pollution.
“What we are trying to do as a city is to avoid an actual tent setup. We don’t want for a tent right at the entrance of the United States and right at the entrance of the city of Laredo to affect our image, much less our local economy as we feel it will hurt our relationship with Mexico and the Mexico merchant.”
Council members voted to have the interim city managers look at other locations in the downtown area to process the asylum claims. However, officials only have about two weeks to find another location.
“We are looking at the tents starting to set up in a couple of weeks and the hearings starting mid-August so we are trying to facilitate this and move as quickly as we can to avoid a tent set up.”
Another idea was to use the former federal courthouse to process the asylum claims, however, officials say they will continue looking for property owned by the city.
Council members say they are also talking to federal agencies and senators to continue the discussions of the tent complex.