EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Up to 200 Venezuelan migrants who tried to surrender to U.S. authorities Tuesday at the border wall in South-Central El Paso were kept at bay by Texas National Guard troops, witnesses said.
The migrants, mostly Venezuelan families and single adults, began crossing the Rio Grande from Juarez, Mexico, around 3 p.m. after rumors spread about U.S. authorities allegedly letting asylum seekers come in between ports of entry.
The Biden administration in May began enforcing the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule making ineligible for asylum those who cross into the U.S. between ports of entry or traveled through third countries and did not apply for protection there.
But migrants like Carly, a Venezuelan, said they have grown tired of waiting for an appointment at a lawful port of entry. She has been in Juarez for two months and unable to get an appointment using an online app called CBP One. When she heard the rumor, she and her boyfriend bolted for the border wall.
“I heard they keep you in detention for 15 to 20 days, they investigate you and they (release you),” she said.
The migrants told a KTSM/Border Report camera crew they were told by people they trust to go to Gate 28 at the border wall, across the river from the Big Red X sculpture in Juarez.
Texas National Guard troops standing behind razor wire told migrants they could not pass. Some in the crowd remained on the American concrete embankment of the Rio Grande, while others stayed on the Mexican side until nightfall.
By Wednesday morning, the riverbank was mostly empty on both sides of the border. Witnesses told the camera crew most of the Venezuelans walked back to Juarez. However, a later video posted by a Juarez news outlet showed a handful were able to lift the barbwire and run toward the wall in search of a Border Patrol agent to surrender to.
The guard and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers taking part in Operation Lone Star late last year set up camp just south of the border wall in El Paso to discourage illegal entries.
The Border Patrol earlier this week told Border Report agents are encountering 800 migrants per day in the El Paso Sector. That is far less than the 2,700 daily apprehensions recorded in the first quarter of the 2023 fiscal year, the agency said. Nonetheless, El Paso still leads the United States in total encounters in the last 10 months, with 364,092.
Juarez freelance photojournalist Roberto Delgado contributed to this report.