Blaze News investigates: Mobs of illegal aliens keep storming border — but El Paso is laying down the law

Over the past couple of months, there have been multiple coordinated attempts by large groups of illegal aliens to breach the southern border, with this trend appearing to be on the rise.

On April 12, a mass of illegal immigrants cut and tore down the concertina wire used to block illegal entry into the country. The wire was located in front of Gate 36 along the border wall. The gate is not a port of entry where so-called ‘asylum-seekers’ are permitted to surrender to federal authorities.

Within the mob of approximately 300 individuals, 142 allegedly “push[ed]” forward, forcing Texas National Guardsmen to “back off,” according to a state prosecutor who argued the group’s actions constituted participation in a riot. The arrested individuals were predominantly Venezuelan nationals, while some were from Guatemala and Honduras.

“Joe Biden has abandoned Texas,” U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Blaze News.

“The federal government won’t defend our border, so we are doing it ourselves,” Cruz continued. “The idea that Joe Biden cares about border security is laughable. Every step of the way, he’s blocked Texas from defending itself and even took a
lawsuit against Texas all the way to the Supreme Court.”

El Paso County Public Defender Kelli Childress, who represented the group, argued that Texas DPS lacked probable cause for the mass arrests, according to
El Paso Times. She claimed it was “nothing more than an attempt to arrest and harass.”

El Paso Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Vandenbosch contended that the illegal immigrants had participated in a riot and pointed to the fact that the group had camped out while “waiting for someone to cut the concertina wire.”

Childress slammed the Texas Department of Public Safety for filing “identical” affidavits for “almost all” of the illegal immigrants that used “boiler plate language.”

“No evidence of who in the National Guard witnessed the crime,” she contended. “These affidavits are nothing more than hearsay. We have nothing that points to these [individuals] participating in a riot.”

Vandenbosch argued that the illegal aliens “bum rush[ed]” military members and law enforcement officers protecting the southern border.

“They all followed,” Vandenbosch noted. “When you come in force with a large group, you are participating in a riot.”

Ira Mehlman, media director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Blaze News that the illegal immigrants who participated in the April 12 border breach “clearly met the standards for being prosecuted.”

“What happened down there was a riot,” Mehlman said.

“You had people who were not only violating U.S. immigration laws by entering the country illegally but were also refusing to obey the orders of law enforcement agents once they reached the U.S. side of the border. They engaged in violence as they came across,” he added.

County Court at Law 7 Judge Ruben Morales ultimately sided with the defense and
dismissed the cases on April 22. During the hearing, Morales stated, “After reviewing the affidavit, I don’t believe that [probable cause] exists.”

“I don’t believe there is probable cause for these individuals to continue to be detained for the offense of riot participation,” he decided.

As a result of the judge’s ruling, the group of illegal immigrants was set to be released from state custody and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has a detainer request on each of the individuals for entering the country illegally.

John Zadrozny with America First Legal told Blaze News that Morales’ decision to dismiss the indictments is “proof” of an “awful double standard” in El Paso County and elsewhere in the country that “needs to be addressed.”

The day after the judge’s ruling, District Attorney Bill Hicks called for a grand jury of 12 El Paso citizens to decide on the cases. The
jurors indicted more than 140 illegal aliens on misdemeanor rioting charges.

During a press conference, Hicks told reporters that the DA’s office had previously objected to the initial trial and attempted to get it pushed back.

“We didn’t feel like we had adequate notice of the hearing. We did not feel like we had adequate service of what the hearing was about, and we objected to that,” Hicks explained. “The judge overruled our objections and went forward with the hearing.”

Hicks also noted that the judge denied evidence offered by the DA’s office.

“At the hearing, the judge ultimately ruled that, based on the complaint affidavit in front of him, that the 141 cases from the April 12 arrests on the riot cases, that there was not probable cause to believe that the riot cases should proceed,” he added. “Because the judge’s ruling was limited to the complaint affidavit in front of him, that allowed us to take the broader case to the grand jury.”

Additional evidence, including video footage, was presented to the jurors that the judge did not review.

“The citizens of El Paso, through the grand jury, essentially overruled the judge’s ruling and found probable cause to believe that the riots did occur,” Hicks told reporters. “They signed a grand jury indictment on each of the 141 cases.”

The cases against the illegal immigrants are now being processed through the clerk’s office. Once the indictments are processed, which Hicks mentioned could take some time for all 141 cases, arrest warrants will be issued. Some or all of the individuals may already be in federal custody by that time. If so, ICE will return the illegal aliens to the county jail.

Hicks said during the press conference that he would not tolerate individuals entering the country illegally and committing additional crimes.

“If people believe they can come to our country, knocking down barriers, endangering lives, causing our National Guardsmen to fear for their lives, having to back away — and to have that kind of mentality, just so they can get up to a particular gate — they can’t do that,” he stated.

Hicks explained that the charges had nothing to do with citizenship status.

“We’ve got to take a stand,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter an individual’s legal status. If U.S. citizens were involved in this, they too would be charged with rioting.”

If convicted, the illegal aliens could face up to 180 days in the county jail and up to a $2,000 fine.

Texas DPS Regional Director Jose Sanchez told reporters during the news conference that the law enforcement agencies work together to obtain intelligence information that could tip them off to an upcoming rush of illegal immigrants at the southern border but that they had not anticipated the breach on April 12.

Sanchez also explained that the installation of the concertina wire and the presence of the Texas National Guard was necessary to prevent waves of illegal migrants from running across the road.

“If we don’t do anything, then we’re going to have chaos like we did
two years ago,” Sanchez told reporters. “Before the concertina wire was up, we had migrants that were getting hit on Border Highway. We had citizens that were getting into accidents, hitting into the center medians, hitting into the fence because they were trying to avoid hitting the tons of migrants that were coming across.”

“It was a madhouse for a very long time,” Sanchez added. “So now, what we’re seeing is them cutting through the wire. This is a whole different group of people than what we were dealing with two years ago. Two years ago, we didn’t have the violence that we’re having now. Besides what you saw in the riots, we’ve also had soldiers that have been assaulted.”

He stated that a female soldier was punched in the chest by an illegal immigrant. Sanchez noted that the illegal aliens crossing the border now are not from Mexico, and some have ties to transnational crime gangs, including the largest criminal organization in Venezuela, Tren de Aragua.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) applauded the El Paso DA’s office for effectively
overruling the judge’s dismissal of the riot charges.

Zadrozny stated that Hicks is “doing the right thing by enforcing local laws” to protect the local community.

“Responsible state and local public officials who take law enforcement, public safety, and the rule of law seriously would be wise to follow Mr. Hicks’ lead in indicting aliens who are illegally in the United States and commit crimes in their jurisdictions,” he told Blaze News. “One of the most important things that state and local law enforcement officials across the country can do to tackle the Joe Biden-induced illegal immigration crisis in the United States is simply arrest, charge, and convict illegal aliens of crime whenever they engage in criminal activity on American soil.”

He noted that these local arrests “will eventually make it easier for a future responsible administration to remove these illegal aliens from the United States.”

The
Border Report found that private and government-operated shelters in Juarez, Mexico, were near capacity a week before April 12 but were half empty on the day of the breach of the U.S. border. Shelter facility leaders said that false social media about an “express” asylum process prompted thousands of individuals to leave and head for the border.

According to a video obtained by
Fox News Digital, approximately one week prior, on March 10, a group of at least 1,000 would-be illegal aliens stormed the Paso del Norte bridge, which connects Mexico and El Paso. In response to the chaotic scheme, Customs and Border Protection rolled out “port hardening measures” due to “a potential threat to make a mass entry.”

The incident was blamed on
Mexican cartels, which frequently use social media to influence illegal immigrants to head to targeted areas of the border.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety stated at the time that a Facebook post claimed that CBP would allow illegal aliens to enter the country if they arrived at the border with children or if they had an “extreme” asylum claim.

The coordinated swarms are used to distract law enforcement and tie up resources while the cartel implements smuggling operations in other parts of the border.

Mehlman noted that the Mexican cartels have been influencing illegal immigrants to rush the southern border for a long time to create distractions for Border Patrol agents.

“These are not happening spontaneously. These are being organized. This is big business for the cartels,” he told Blaze News.

“And very often, it augments their drug trafficking business because when the Border Patrol is tied up processing migrants, then the border remains wide open for them to start bringing in narcotics,” Mehlman added.

Simon Hankinson, a senior research fellow in the Border Security and Immigration Center at the Heritage Foundation, told Blaze News that human smuggling and drug trafficking are a billion-dollar business for Mexican cartels, noting that “the two businesses go well together” because they “channel[] large groups of illegal crossers to certain points on the border.” By using this strategy, the cartels “can divert Border Patrol and leave areas unguarded for the movement of drugs.”

Just weeks before the April 12 breach, a mob of
more than 100 illegal aliens was captured on video by the New York Post breaking through the razor-wire barriers and knocking down Texas National Guardsmen. The group consisted primarily of adult males.

The five troops standing along the concertina wire attempted to block the illegal immigrants from rushing through but were ultimately pushed down or shoved aside by the massive group of unruly individuals, the video showed. After breaking past the guards, the illegal aliens ran to the closed border gate, Gate 36, and shouted at authorities standing on the other side to let them through.

According to Hicks, nine illegal aliens involved in the rush were indicted with felony charges. He said the individuals were identified and accused of “physically attacking the National Guardsmen” or cutting down the razor wire. Hicks added that the video evidence is still being reviewed to identify individuals who committed additional criminal activity.

Approximately 350 illegal immigrants have been arrested on rioting charges since March, according to the El Paso DA’s office.

During a
news conference following the March 21 incident, Hicks told reporters that he is “concerned about violence and destruction of property.”

According to the DA, National Guardsmen were punched in the face, and their knees were stomped on during the mad rush. One of the illegal aliens attempted to steal a gun from one of the guardsmen, according to Hicks. Two guardsmen suffered injuries as a result of the incident.

After the caught-on-video breach, there were several similar riots, he claimed.

“There was another group of 250, followed by a group of 200, followed by another group of 100 that had to be repelled from Gate 36. We have a group of close to 1,000 that has left Chihuahua City that is making its way to El Paso with instructions to go to Gate 36,” Hicks said.

“If they’re willing to tear down government property, what’s going to stop them from tearing down people’s back yards?” he questioned. “If they’re willing to assault government officials, what stops them from assaulting our friends, our neighbors, our mothers and fathers in those neighborhoods?”

“We have to send a message that you cannot do that,” Hicks declared.

Many have cited the incident as further evidence that the Biden administration’s open-border policies have caused a full-blown invasion.

“The Biden administration, the entire federal government, and many Democrat state and local officials throughout the United States are doing everything they can to fuel illegal immigration into the United States in the hopes of getting them to vote illegally in this fall’s elections,” Zadrozny told Blaze News. “Not only do they want unchecked illegal immigration regardless of the impact on the health and safety of American citizens, but they almost seem to want to turn illegal aliens into super-citizens who can do whatever they want and break laws without consequences.”

In a statement to Blaze News, Senator Cruz said, “We won’t back down, and I’m proud to stand with local law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and first responders across the Lone Star State who have stepped up to do the federal government’s job.”

Mehlman stated that Texas’ attempts to deter illegal immigration appear to be working.

“We have seen over the past few months, as Texas has made its own effort to deal with illegal immigration and deter it, that the traffic has moved further west into Arizona and California,” he told Blaze News.

Hankinson explained that Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star has “hardened [Texas’] physical line along the banks of the Rio Grande and prosecuted thousands of illegal aliens for state offenses like trespassing and vandalism.”

“This is having some deterrent effect, but it cannot really counteract Biden’s welcome mat of policies encouraging illegal immigration. Texas is taking a brave stand, but they can never succeed alone in the face of federal dereliction of duty,” he told Blaze News. “Since January 2021, when the Biden administration made it clear that anyone crossing into the U.S. illegally had a good chance of being released without any real surveillance, there has been a historically unprecedented flow of aliens being caught and released at the border.”

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