Dec 5, 2013 3:45 PM by Sara Donchey
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The new $24 million dollar U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility was officially unveiled today off Highway 44.
Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rosendo Hinojosa says it's a huge upgrade from the previous space.
"Our agents were working out of 5,000 square feet," Hinojosa said. "Office of Field Operations had 1,000 square feet. So now, we've got 30,000 square feet where we can combine our efforts."
The new building is meant to house about 100 Border Patrol employees as well as a handful of Immigrations and Customs workers.
And officers say the new space is all about being able to collaborate with other agencies.
"We also have a coastal threat that we can't ignore," Hinojosa said. "So we'll work with the Coast Guard and the office of air and marine."
The facility sits on 30 acres and comes equipped with its own fueling station, mechanic shop, and even an employee gym.
It can also house detainees; as many as 200 undocumented immigrants at a time.
And agents say it's good timing. They say they're seeing more and more instances of immigrant smuggling.
"We've seen a lot of abuses... rapes, physical abuses, extortion...things of that sort."
With explosive growth in the oil industry, increase in port activity means ICE agents have a big job to do.
Jud Murdock of US Customs and Immigration says hat includes keeping an eye on what comes and goes from the Port of Corpus Christi.
"If there was something significant that could possibly do damage, we could stop it before it even came into the port."