EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Border Patrol agents removed a group of migrants from a commercial bus after discovering that they had improper documentation.
The 32 migrants — from Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia — were on a bus that was stopped for inspection Thursday at the Interstate 25 Border Patrol checkpoint north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 50 miles north of the border.
Border Patrol officials say the migrants presented an I-797C Notice of Action form, which they describe as only a receipt given to a person who has applied for immigration benefits online but whose application isn’t finalized, and/or hasn’t been granted status.
Agents said the individuals told them that they had been assisted in obtaining the documents by individuals in El Paso, Texas.
On Thursday, KTSM spotted migrants in South El Paso exchanging money for manila folders and these Notice of Action forms, which have a bold-face banner that says, “THIS NOTICE DOES NOT GRANT ANY IMMIGRATION STATUS OR BENEFIT.”
One man told KTSM that he got the Notice of Action form through the CBP One app and that it was his understanding that all he had to do was print it out.
A Border Patrol spokesman on Thursday confirmed to KTSM that the Notice of Action form is not the document migrants received after being processed by Border Patrol agents.
Migrants who are processed at the border a typically given Notice to Appear form, or NTA, which instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge.
An NTA “is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them,” according to the USCIS website.
Border officials say Transnational Criminal Organizations exploit the migrants’ lack of understanding of U.S. immigration and asylum laws and often misinform migrants about what documents they might need.
“They don’t know how a fake document looks like. They don’t know how a real document looks like,” said Border Patrol spokesman Claudio Herrera told KTSM. “Most of this documentation will be officially and signed by an immigration official.”
Agents took the 32 migrants to the Central Processing Center for further processing in El Paso.