EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector said 1,000 migrants crossed the border illegally before surrendering to agents on Wednesday afternoon.
Chief Patrol Agent Anthony “Scott” Good on Thursday tweeted photos of hundreds of migrants sitting in rows as hundreds more lined up in the background.
Good said the agency’s authority to expel migrants or place them in removal proceedings has not changed.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection told NewsNation that the migrants “once again” were misled by a social media post saying they would be able to stay in the U.S. if they self-surrendered at a specific location in El Paso.
On March 12, hundreds of migrants attempted a mass entry and rushed up the Paso Del Norte Bridge into Downtown El Paso, reportedly the result of a rumor social media post.
In February, hundreds of migrants were tricked into believing that U.S. border agents would allow them into the country and that buses were waiting to take them to Canada.
On Wednesday, hundreds of migrants crossed into El Paso from Juarez, Mexico and began walking along the border to a gate at the wall. Two nights before, 39 migrants died after detainees allegedly set fire to mattresses in a holding cell at the National Migration Institute building in Juarez. Mexican officials announced Wednesday that eight employees or officials are being investigated for possible misconduct at a migrant detention center.
A KTSM 9 News photographer spotted the group stopping between the Fonseca Drive and Midway Drive exits along the Border Highway. The migrants could be seen coming from the downtown area.
A Venezuelan woman walking among the droves of people with her child said she’d heard that Venezuelans were being allowed in the U.S. and all they had to do was go to gate 36.
“It looks like there are people who have crossed through, were trying everything possible to be able to cross it’s the goal,” said another migrant who was walking with a group of her own.
On the U.S. side, federal officials began loading people into white buses.
In a statement to KTSM, Border Patrol officials said at the time that they didn’t have the specifics regarding how large the group was, but added that any migrant who enters the country illegally between the ports of entry will be processed accordingly.
Agents will “continue to process individuals safely, efficiently, and effectively at the border and continues to expel migrants under CDC’s Title 42 authority. Those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 who are processed under Title 8 authority and do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States will be placed in removal proceedings,” the statement said.
Word of migrants amassing came along with reporters that the Paso Del Norte Bridge and the Stanton Street Bridge in Downtown El Paso appeared to be briefly closed to motorists and pedestrians. Border cameras showed a line of pedestrians forming on the Mexican side of the Paso Del Norte Bridge and barricades blocking the roadway.
The bridges reopened and traffic returned to normal at around 3:30 p.m.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman told KTSM and Border Report that Mexican officials temporarily restricted access on their side of the Stanton Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, the El Paso-based Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services center said migrants in Juarez are getting desperate.
“When you have family members and friends who have been waiting months to try to seek asylum who have gone through the process of going through CBP one and they continue to have doors slammed in their faces, I think the desperation sets in,” said Melissa Lopez, executive director of DMRS.