WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
- A group of hundreds of migrants attempted to cross the Paso Del Norte international bridge between El Paso and Juárez on Sunday.
- US Customs and Border Protection officers in riot gear stood behind barricades to prevent their entry.
- The migrants, mainly Venezuelans, were demanding entry into the US amid rumors of an express asylum program.
On Sunday afternoon, a standoff occurred between hundreds of migrants and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers on the Paso Del Norte international bridge, which connects Downtown El Paso and Juárez.
According to a statement by a CBP spokesman, similar temporary disruptions happened at two other border bridges in El Paso. The CBP officers used barricades to block the border at the middle of the top of the bridge before what appeared to be hundreds of migrants, mainly Venezuelans.
At around 1:30 p.m., the CBP Mobile Field Force, a riot-control team, was deployed when a large group of migrants threatened to make a mass entry. A special response team and US Border Patrol agents assisted CBP officers.
VIDEO: A massive group of what appears to be migrants have arrived at a port of entry in #ElPaso. This video taken on the #Mexico side, shows Mexican National Guard members surrounded by what appears to be hundreds of people walking towards the bridge. @KFOX14
📸: j.josss_ pic.twitter.com/rmvtYAsPnB— Lianna Golden (@LiannaKFOX_CBS) March 12, 2023
By 5:30 p.m., most of the crowd had returned to Mexico, but the bridge remained closed to vehicle traffic as pedestrians could be seen walking to the port of entry. Mexican National Guard troops stood watch on the southern side of the border. The bridge reopened to vehicles by 6:30 p.m.
The migrants were demanding entry into the US amid rumors that the border would be opened for express asylum. The Norte Digital news website reported from Juárez that some of the migrants could be heard on various videos during the bridge rush saying that the CBP online asylum application launched earlier this year was not working properly.
Crowds of migrants had been gathering at the Mexican foot of the bridge since that morning before the tidal wave of people ran up to the border at the top of the bridge.
Similar standoffs have occurred in recent years on the Paso Del Norte Bridge as groups of undocumented migrants hoping for asylum try to enter the United States, usually spurred by false rumors that the border will be opened to them.
CBP and other law enforcement agencies have faced criticism over their handling of the situation, with some saying that the use of force was unnecessary. The situation highlights the ongoing debate over US immigration policies and the treatment of migrants seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border.