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July 22, 2014

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Homeland secretary visits immigrant holding center

Updated Friday, July 11, 2014 | 12:29 p.m.

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says the agency is working rapidly to open new detention facilities to house the influx of women and children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

On a tour Friday of a temporary center at a border patrol training facility in Artesia, New Mexico, Johnson said more facilities are needed so the administration can meet its goal of deporting the immigrants who enter the country illegally as quickly as possible.

Without more beds, he says immigrants caught entering the country illegally will continue to be released while awaiting their deportation and asylum hearings.

Johnson will meet later Friday with officials in Weslaco, Texas. There, they'll discuss the ongoing humanitarian immigrant crisis caused in South Texas by the surge in unaccompanied minors and family groups.