CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — The Mexican government opened its first shelter Thursday in the border city of Juarez to house Central Americans and other migrants seeking asylum in the United States who have been sent back to Mexico to await the process.

Government officials said the shelter at a former assembly plant in the city across from El Paso, Texas, can house 3,500 migrants.

Labor ministry official Horacio Duarte Olivares said the facility will provide shelter, meals, medical attention and access to the local labor market for migrants.

Duarte said that similar shelters would open in the coming days in Tijuana and Mexicali and that there are plans for one in Nuevo Laredo.

The U.S. government has returned more than 20,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico since the program began in January.

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