U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested a group of illegal immigrants shortly after they snuck through the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso around 11 p.m. on New Years Day.
An eyewitness told the Post: “Migrants scale the border wall, go under the highway and disappear into neighborhoods.
“Border agents left all their cars a few blocks away and hid behind a dumpster. When they came out from behind to pounce on the stowaways, they all tried to disperse.
“They apprehended a total of eight people, four on the street and four who tried to hide in a dark corner up the inside of the overpass ramp.”
Photos taken during the arrests show several migrants lying on their stomachs as they are searched and then led away by US Customs and Border Protection officers. They were assisted by officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, who have been drafted alongside the Texas National Guard to help in the beleaguered city since it declared a migrant crisis emergency at the mid-December.
Photos also show migrants – many from Central and South America where they are fleeing failing governments and an economic tailspin – sitting against fences near the border as officers stand above them holding flashlights. Some of the migrants had small bags or backpacks with them after their journey across the border.
Residents of the nearby neighborhood of El Paso also began patrolling the area, looking for migrants attempting to cross the border. On Sunday, one resident even armed himself with a beanbag gun while watching for illegals climbing the fence to cross the Cesar E. Chavez border highway.
The eyewitness said that despite an increased presence and border patrols, the sneaking migrants seemed to know what time to cross and waited until the early hours of Monday morning, when there were fewer resources devoted to catch them.
“Presence was reduced after midnight and the Texas DPS had no visible patrols along the highway by 2 a.m. After that, people were just running through. They came in small groups to begin with, then there were larger groups, all of which disappeared into the neighborhood.
“I must have seen 60 people cross. It is a futile situation. Once the guards are gone, they rush out,” the source said.
The Post followed the progress of three Venezuelan migrants last week from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso. They crossed illegally and joined a camp of legal and illegal asylum seekers and were trying to raise money for an out-of-town bus to Denver, where they said they had jobs waiting for them.
“We entered illegally through a gate in the border wall. We know the risks… the pros and cons, but we have to make the sacrifice,” said one of the migrants.
Meanwhile, earlier on Sunday, 10 guards and four inmates were killed when gunmen in armored vehicles attacked a Mexican state prison in Ciudad Juarez – just across the border from El Paso.
Gunmen in armored vehicles attacked Cereso State Prison No. 3, injuring 13 and killing 14, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney’s Office.
Later that day, Mexican soldiers and state police regained control of the prison, but only after at least 24 inmates escaped. The state’s attorney’s office said its officials are investigating the deadly incident.
In August, a riot broke out in the same prison and spread through the streets, killing 11 people.
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