Photos show mass illegal crossing of 1,000 immigrants at El Paso border on Wednesday
Photos show mass illegal crossing of 1,000 immigrants at El Paso border on WednesdayAnna Giaritelli
March 30, 01:14 PM March 30, 01:14 PM
AUSTIN, Texas — More than 1,000 immigrants surged across the U.S.-Mexico border into El Paso in a mass illegal crossing that unfolded in a matter of hours Wednesday afternoon.
Photos obtained exclusively by the Washington Examiner Wednesday evening showed large groups of immigrants running from the border into El Paso as others stood around on the U.S. side of the border after they illegally crossed and surrendered to Border Patrol agents.
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Border Patrol agents were called in to organize the groups. One picture taken by federal law enforcement on the scene showed a group of mostly young men seated on the ground, smiling.
The regional chief of Border Patrol operations in El Paso, Anthony Good, said that more than 1,000 people were taken into custody in this one incident, according to a statement issued late Wednesday. A picture that Good shared on Twitter showed agents interacting with young children in the group.
In the distance, agents can be seen corralling people into smaller groups as more people continued to cross the border in the background and walk over to the staging area east of Ascarate Park, roughly 10 miles outside downtown El Paso.
Good said the group was primarily Venezuelan. Under a Biden administration policy put forth in January, Venezuelans are to seek admission through a government phone app, and those who cross illegally will be returned to Mexico.
The U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez said immigrants had been wrongly informed that they could enter the United States, which prompted a rush of people in a short period of time.
“The rumors about the opening of the border after the tragedy in Ciudad Juarez are completely false. Law enforcement policies and security measures to restrict documentless access to the U.S. remain in effect,” the U.S. Consulate wrote in a statement. “The border is closed to irregular migration!”
On Monday, 38 people died in a fire at the Mexican government’s immigrant detention facility in Juarez. Men detained inside were killed when guards and staff rushed out and left them locked in the cells.
The mass crossing is the latest of mass entry attempts allegedly caused by a false rumor that circulated in Juarez. It was not clear if the Mexican cartels that facilitate human smuggling at the border were involved in the circulation of the rumor.
In mid-March, immigrants in Juarez rushed across an international bridge, fueled by a rumor of a free pass into the U.S. and frustrations over a new Biden administration phone app meant to deter illegal crossings between the ports of entry.
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), whose district includes part of West Texas’s El Paso region, told the Washington Examiner at the time that immigrants in Juarez were told by unspecific sources a “day of the migrant” celebration meant they would be allowed to enter the U.S. freely.