In Easter Ruling, Judge Orders Release Of ‘Border Riot’ Migrants Who Overwhelmed National Guard

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A group of migrants involved in a riot at the southern US border have been ordered to be released by an El Paso magistrate judge.

The swarm of migrants overwhelmed Texas National Guard soldiers who were trying to organize them into groups to be taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At one point, a migrant attempted to grab a soldier’s firearm, one National Guard source told the NY Post.

Following the riot, authorities confiscated knives and shanks from some of the migrants.

“These people were willing to assault military,” said the Post‘s source. “They were willing to assault law enforcement. They have complete disregard for our laws.

In an Easter Sunday decision, presiding Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta ordered the rioters released after accusing the El Paso DA’s Office of being unprepared to proceed with detention hearings for each defendant, so they should be released, the El Paso Times reports.

“It is the ruling of the court is that all the rioting participation cases will be released on their own recognizance,” Acosta ordered, noting that they will only remain jailed if there’s a federal immigration hold blocking their release.

The arrests were made by the Texas Department of Public Safety in connection with a March 21 stampede of asylum-seeking migrants — mostly men from Venezuela — who torn down razor wire along the Rio Grande and rushed the border fence at Border Safety Initiative Marker No. 36 in the Riverside area of El Paso’s Lower Valley.

Some migrants face charges of assault of a public servant for knocking down National Guard troops before order was regained. The migrants had sought to surrender themselves to U.S. Border Patrol in bids for asylum.

It was unclear if Acosta’s decision applied only to the “riot participation” charge, or the assault and criminal mischief charges related to the border incident.

It is unknown how many migrants were booked on the charge of “riot participation,” a Class B misdemeanor – though Acosta referred to “hundreds of arrestees,” who he says are entitled to individual detention hearings within 48 hours.

The DA’s office requested a continuance to have the hearings at a later date, however Acosta rejected the request.

“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.

Meanwhile on Sunday, two other migrants – including a Colombian man, had separate hearings on criminal mischief charges for allegedly cutting border fencing. After being jailed with a $2,000 bond each, Magistrate Judge Antonio Aun also released them on personal recognizance bonds, however both men have immigration holds.

Last week, Texas sent 700 National Guard soldiers to El Paso, including 200 with the Texas Tactical Border Force, to reinforce the border.

As the El Paso Times notes further, ‘Operation Lone Star video shows troops boarding a transport plane and on the border with riot shields moving migrants back so crews could replace rolls of damaged razor wire along the banks of the Rio Grande.’

 

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