Judge Dismisses Riot Charges For Over 100 Migrants Who Rushed Border

2R1D5XT El Paso, United States. 11th May, 2023. Texas Army National Guard soldiers with the governors self-styled Texas Tactical Border Force, on security detail during Operation Lone Star Task Force West, May 11, 2023 near El Paso, Texas. The fear over a migrant surge after Title 42 expired failed to materialize with fewer migrants risking the tougher penalties under the new Title 8 rules. Credit: Mark Otte/Texas National Guard/Alamy Live News

Photo: Alamy | Originally published by Jason Hopkins at Daily Caller News Foundation

A county judge dismissed 140 cases against migrants charged with rioting at the U.S. southern border, finding there was no reason to arrest them.

El Paso County Court at Law 7 Judge Ruben Morales on Monday found no probable cause from Texas Department of Public Safety state troopers to restrain the 140 migrants who were arrested earlier this month for rioting, according to the El Paso Times. The charges stemmed from an incident on April 12 when a group of migrants in El Paso’s Lower Valley cut through concertina wire at the border and then rushed into the U.S.

“After reviewing the affidavit, I don’t believe that (probable cause) exists,” Morales stated during the hearing, according to the El Paso Times. “I don’t believe there is probable cause for these individuals to continue to be detained for the offense of riot participation.”

There were more than 300 migrants in the group at the time of the incident, but a state prosecutor alleged that the push forward by roughly 140 of them prompted the Texas National State Guard to pull back, constituting a riot, WFXR reported. A public defender argued that the arrest affidavits didn’t specify what each migrant did, or identify which agent or officer who witnessed them do it.

“It’s like someone at the front of a line at a concert gets in a fight with the bouncer and you arrest everyone that was in line,” El Paso County Chief Public Defender Kelli Childress stated, according to WFXR.

Childress argued that the charges were an “attempt to arrest and harass,” she reportedly said at the hearing.

El Paso’s District Attorney’s Office Assistant D.A. Jennifer Vandenbosch argued that the group of migrants were aware they were participating in a riot when they crossed the border unlawfully, the El Paso Times reported.

The judge’s decision does not necessarily mean these migrants cannot be charged with rioting in the future — the El Paso District Attorney’s Office will have to lodge those charges, according to the El Paso Times. Federal immigration authorities have placed detainer requests on these migrants for unlawful entry into the U.S., which means they must remain in county jail for up to two days until they are transferred into federal custody, WFXR reported.

The mass arrest of the migrants in El Paso follow a continuing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Congressional Budget Office reported that more than three million foreign nationals entered the U.S. unlawfully, were released into the U.S. via parole or overstayed their visa in the country in fiscal year 2023.

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