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Texas Judge Orders Release of Migrants Who Stampeded Guard Troops At Border

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A state judge in Texas has ordered the release of illegal migrants who stampeded Texas National Guard troops at the border last month, angering Republicans who have been demanding more immigration enforcement by the Biden administration.

Footage circulating on social media captured a scene described as a “riot,” where asylum seekers sought to unlawfully enter the United States from Mexico at the El Paso border on March 21.

According to a reporter on-site, the Texas National Guard appeared to be “overrun by migrants,” who forcefully pushed past both a border fence and the soldiers before authorities were able to regain control of the situation, Newsweek reported.

In January, crossings at the southwest land border in Texas totaled 68,260, as per U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. While this marked a decrease from the 149,806 migrants who entered in December, it still represents one of the highest rates in the country.

In response to the ongoing surge, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other GOP officials have sought to implement their immigration laws. These laws aim to facilitate the arrest, detainment, and removal of suspected illegal immigrants. However, these efforts are currently facing legal challenges and are being litigated.

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According to the El Paso Times, Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta gave his ruling during an online teleconference bond hearing held on Sunday. He also reprimanded the El Paso District Attorney’s Office for not being prepared to hold detention hearings for some of the defendants who were arrested in the border incident. It was also reported that another hearing for additional defendants is scheduled for Monday.

“It is the ruling of the court that all the rioting participation cases will be released on their recognizance,” Acosta said, according to the local report.

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The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) made the arrests in connection with a March 21 incident where a group of migrants, primarily men from Venezuela, tore down razor wire along the Rio Grande and stormed the border fence.

At the time of publication, the exact number of migrants arrested in connection to the border riot remains unclear. Acosta stated that “hundreds of arrestees” were entitled to individual detention hearings within 48 hours.

It is also uncertain whether Acosta’s ruling applied solely to individuals charged with “riot participation” or also encompassed those accused of assault or criminal mischief linked to the border stampede.

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The judge denied a request by Assistant District Attorney Ashley M. Martinez to hold the hearings at a later date, the El Paso Times reported.

“So, if the DA’s office is telling me that they are not ready to go, what we’re going to do is we’re going to release all these individuals on their recognizance,” Acosta said.

In response to the border riot, Abbott wrote in a March 30 post on the X platform: “More than 700 National Guard troops surged to El Paso after migrants breached the razor wire barrier. That includes 200 soldiers of the Texas Tactical Border Force deployed to El Paso this past week. Mission: Hold the line & deny illegal entry.”

SpaceX, Tesla, and Starlink founder and CEO Elon Musk took to his X platform to lash out at Biden and his administration for their failure to secure the U.S.-Mexico border following a flurry of confusing and competing federal court rulings over a strict Texas immigration enforcement law.

“Crazy that Texas has to do the job of the Biden administration, which filed aggressive legal action to stop the state! If anyone still doesn’t believe that ushering in illegals is the goal of the Biden administration, this should convince them,” Musk wrote in a post that contained photos of Texas law enforcement and National Guard troops along the border.

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