ICE to Deport 215 Illegal Immigrants Involved in Riot at Border Wall in El Paso
ICE to Deport 215 Illegal Immigrants Involved in Riot at Border Wall in El Paso

By Tom Ozimek

Customs officials are working to deport 215 illegal immigrants charged with various offenses in connection with breaking through a razor wire barrier in El Paso County and stampeding through a group of outnumbered Texas National Guard troops.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement on April 2 that agents with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) had lodged immigration detainers on 215 illegal immigrants involved in the March 21 incident.

Dramatic video shared widely on social media showed that on March 21 hundreds of illegal immigrants tore down razor wire along the Rio Grande and rushed troops posted at a nearby border fence, pushing past the outnumbered uniformed men.

The illegal immigrants were later arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety and booked at the El Paso County court.

Dozens of Venezuelan nationals were later charged with riot participation following the incident, according to Border Report, which cited state court records.

Some of the illegal immigrants were released on their own recognizance, according to earlier reporting by The Epoch Times.

The ICE spokesperson told The Epoch Times that, to date, 64 individuals have been taken into ICE custody and are being processed for deportation.

Four of the illegal immigrants involved in the stampede were arrested by ERO deportation officers on March 30 after they were released by the El Paso County Detention Facility on their own recognizance.

Another 60 were released directly to ERO El Paso custody on April 1 after they were processed in the El Paso County Detention Facility, per the spokesperson.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the ICE removal operations of the individuals involved in the riot.

“Send them back,” he said in a post on X.

Increased Texas National Guard Presence

Following the March 21 border riot, the Texas National Guard and other local law enforcement officials were sent to El Paso, which is located just across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, according to a March 29 statement issued by the governor’s office.

“Earlier this week, the Texas National Guard surged personnel and resources to ramp up border security activity in El Paso. Approximately 200 soldiers were deployed to support existing ground forces to reinforce existing border barriers and repel illegal crossings,” his office said.

Photos released in local media show troops entering a transport plane and also appearing near the border area.

A spokesperson for the Texas Military Department told KTSM-TV that the troops specialize in civil disturbances.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, said he did not request the National Guard troops.

“You’re talking about the National Guard. It’s something that we didn’t request, and we won’t request from the state of Texas,” he said last week.

Texas National Guard agents prevent migrants from Venezuela from crossing a barbed wire fence to at the El Paso Sector Border after crossing the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico, on Feb. 29, 2024. (Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)

The Texas Military Department said in a March 31 update that the Texas National Guard had surged more personnel and equipment to El Paso.

“More than 700 additional Soldiers, including 200 Soldiers of the Texas Tactical Border Force (TTBF), have deployed to El Paso throughout the past week,” the agency said in a post on X.

Texas National Guard engineers have been assigned to special response teams to reinforce multiple points along the border with Mexico, the agency said in an April 2 update, which featured a photo of troops working on installing border fencing.

Fox News reporter Matt Finn shared video of troops putting up new wire fences and barriers going up in El Paso, saying in a post on X that “miles of it” are being installed.

Mr. Abbott said in a post on April 2 that construction is underway on a new Forward Operating Base in Eagle Pass, Texas.

“This base camp will house Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to respond to Biden’s border crisis. It will also provide our soldiers additional resources and regional support to secure the border,” the Texas governor wrote in the post, which featured an aerial video of the camp under construction.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, has become a prominent critic of President Joe Biden’s border policies, arguing that the Biden administration has done little to curb the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

Last week, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) visited Texas to meet with Mr. Abbott and discuss what the governor’s office said in a statement was the “disastrous impact President Joe Biden’s border crisis has had on the state of Texas and Congress’ lack of action to pass crucial border security legislation.”

The pair discussed issues related to border security.

“By opening the border to criminals, traffickers, and cartels, the Biden administration is actively endangering the American people, our families, ranchers, and law enforcement,” the House speaker said in a statement after the visit.

“When the federal government fails to perform its constitutional duty to protect our borders, states have no choice but to fill that role.”

President Biden and members of his administration have defended their actions on the border, variously blaming a “broken immigration system,” crime and corruption in illegal immigrants’ home countries, and even climate change, for the problem.

Estimates indicate that roughly 10 million illegal immigrants have entered the United States on President Biden’s watch.

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