McALLEN (AP) — The U.S. government has received permits to transform an empty 55,000-square foot warehouse in South Texas into a processing facility for unaccompanied child immigrants who have entered the country illegally.

Construction permits obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show plans to build four pods inside the warehouse in McAllen that could eventually accommodate about 1,000 children. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been arrested since October after entering the United States illegally, a 99 percent increase on the same period a year earlier.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been processing children at a facility in Nogales, Arizona, but about three quarters of the children have been arrested in South Texas.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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