El Paso Court Releases Migrants Accused in Border Riot on Easter Sunday

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/01/2024
On Easter Sunday, an El Paso magistrate court released migrants accused of a "border riot" that overran National Guard forces on the Rio Grande. Court authorities said unauthorized individuals with federal immigration holds would remain in prison.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesperson confirmed Monday that 39 of 220 rioters detained by the Texas Department of Public Safety had been released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and remain incarcerated on immigration detainers.

In an online teleconference bail hearing on Sunday, March 31, Presiding Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta criticized the El Paso District Attorney's Office of not being ready to have detention hearings for each defendant. Monday brought additional defendant hearings.

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

About 40 additional riot offenders had their hearings waived on Monday. In an unprecedented move, El Paso Public Defender Kelli Childress asked the defendants to stay in the county jail because otherwise defense counsel would be unable to speak with them.

On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Vandenbosch said the state was ready for each hearing.

A March 21 stampede of asylum-seeking migrants, mostly Venezuelan men, tore down razor wire along the Rio Grande and rushed the border fence at Border Safety Initiative Marker No. 36 in Riverside, El Paso's Lower Valley. The Texas Department of Public Safety arrested them.

After knocking down Texas National Guard members, several migrants face assault charges. The migrants sought asylum or other immigration remedies by surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol.


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