Illegal migrants accused in border stampede released by El Paso judge on Easter Sunday

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On Easter Sunday, an El Paso judge ordered the release of illegal migrants accused of involvement in a “border riot” when a stampede overwhelmed National Guard troops along the Rio Grande earlier this month, the El Paso Times reported.

Court officials also stated that undocumented migrants will stay jailed if there is a federal immigration hold blocking their release, the El Paso Times reported.

Judge Humberto Acosta made his ruling on Sunday, March 31, during an online teleconference bond hearing where he accused the El Paso District Attorney’s Office of not being ready to proceed with detention hearings for each defendant, according to the outlet.

“It is the ruling of the court that all the rioting participation cases will be released on their own recognizance,” Acosta ordered.


Migrants in El Paso, Texas

A group of over 100 migrants attempting to enter the US illegally rush a border wall Thursday, March 21, 2024. In the process the migrants knock down Texas National Guardsmen before they are halted  by the border wall. (James Breeden for New York Post / Mega)

Another hearing for more defendants is expected on Monday.

The riot happened on Thursday, March 21, when a group of over 300 migrants attempted to enter the U.S. illegally by rushing a border fence in an area of the southern border in El Paso, Texas.

Video footage published by the New York Post, shows dozens of adult males ripping away razor wire that had been set up by the state and charging past Texas National Guard members. They then ran toward a section of border wall, where they were blocked from entering further. 

It is unknown how many illegal migrants were booked on a charge of “riot participation,” but the El Paso Times reported that Acosta mentioned “hundreds of arrestees” were entitled to individual detention hearings within 48 hours.

It was also unclear if the judge’s ruling applied only to the “riot participation” charge and not to assault and criminal mischief charges related to the border stampede. 

“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 own recognizance,” Acosta said at the hearing.


Migrants storm the gate at the border in El Paso

A group of over 100 migrants attempting to enter the US illegally rush a border wall Thursday, March 21, 2024. In the process the migrants knock down Texas National Guardsmen before they are halted  by the border wall. (James Breeden for New York Post / Mega)

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Fox News Digital previously that agents were going through video to see who assaulted the guardsman. They will be processed for deportation, but maintain the ability to claim asylum. Texas also has the ability to charge the migrants who assaulted them.

Texas has said it still has the authority to stop those coming across illegally by using trespass laws. Gov. Abbott’s spokesman, Andrew Mahaleris, told Fox News Digital previously, “The surge today (Thursday, March 21) in El Paso is the direct result of the unsustainable chaos President Biden has unleashed on the border. The Texas Military Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety quickly gained control of the situation and are working to repair the damage. These illegal immigrants committed crimes in Texas, and the Department of Public Safety is under instruction to arrest every illegal immigrant involved for committing criminal trespass and destruction of property.”

The Supreme Court briefly allowed Texas’ anti-illegal immigration law, which allows police to arrest illegal immigrants, to go into effect despite a legal challenge from the Biden administration. The law was kicked back down to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which then blocked it again hours later as arguments proceeded on the merits.


Migrants storm the gate at the border in El Paso

Migrants rush the border. (James Breeden for New York Post / Mega)

The Biden administration has claimed that the law interferes with federal responsibility over immigration enforcement. 

“Number one, we are facing such dangerous situations. And number two, Joe Biden, through his actions, is violating the laws of the United States of America,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott following the stampede. 


Later on Easter Sunday morning, the El Paso Times reported that two other migrants, including a Colombian man, had separate hearings on criminal mischief charges for allegedly cutting border fencing. They were each jailed on a $2,000 bond.

Fox News’ Bill Melugin, Adam Shaw, and Michael Lee contributed to this report. 

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