Texas DA Concerned by Release of Border Riot Detainees

Screengrab of the riot | Image by New York Post

El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks said earlier this week that he is very concerned about the escalation of events along the southern border stemming from an incident in which hundreds of unlawful migrants overpowered Texas National Guard soldiers and tore down a border fence.

Hicks’s comments were in response to Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta ordering the release of hundreds of unlawful migrants who were involved in the March 21 tumult, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

A video of the incident, posted by Jennie Taer of the New York Post, shows hundreds of people pulling down the fence and moving past soldiers before advancing to the next fence and later being apprehended.

Hicks said during a press conference regarding Acosta’s ruling that there were roughly 425 unlawful migrants involved in the incident, with about 326 of those apprehended being charged by the Texas Department of Public Safety, as reported by KFOX 14.

The district attorney explained that he is concerned about Acosta’s ruling because of the message it sends to those waiting to enter the U.S. along the southern border.

“I’m concerned if we don’t send that message that you cannot come to Gate 36 and use violence to get into the United States, we won’t be able to stop this. … We have to send the message that you cannot do that,” he said, according to The Texan.

Hicks also pushed back on Acosta’s claims that the El Paso District Attorney’s office was not prepared for the hearings and said they “are categorically not true,” asserting that his office would have made the necessary preparations for bond hearings.

“I was very surprised on Sunday when Judge Acosta asked [my] assistant District Attorney if we had the cases in our office. That is completely irrelevant to whether or not we were ready to proceed on a bond hearing,” he explained, per Newsweek.

The riot along the border and subsequent ruling from Acosta comes as the U.S. continues to deal with a significant influx of unlawful migrants since President Biden took office in 2021.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported more than 7.7 million encounters with unlawful migrants along the southern border between FY2021 and February 2024.

Additionally, the House Homeland Security office has reported that an estimated 1.7 million “gotaways” — people who cross the border unlawfully without being apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection — have entered the U.S. during that same period.

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