More than a thousand illegal immigrants rushed the border in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday and into Thursday, officials said, blaming what they called “false information” fed by smugglers.
The migrants began showing up in the afternoon and trickled in by groups of 20 to 30 people all through the night and into Thursday morning.
Most were from Venezuela but others came from Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador, Customs and Border Protection said.
“Many of the migrants claimed that they received information regarding CBP immigration policies via various social media platforms,” the agency said. “Migrants indicated social media posts stated that if they surrendered to agents in El Paso at a certain location, they would be allowed to remain in the United States. That information was not correct.”
The mass incursion suggested a breakdown in President Biden’s new program to try to encourage illegal immigrants not to jump the border but rather to show up for an appointment at an official crossing.
Those that do schedule an appointment will be caught and released, while those who jump the border will be shipped back to Mexico.
That program applies to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba.
But the migrants who arrived from Colombia and Ecuador are likely to have better luck.
Of the roughly 12,500 Colombian migrants whom the Border Patrol apprehended at the southern border in February, only about 2,100 were expelled under the Title 42 pandemic border policy.
Anthony Scott Good, the chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, blamed “the lies of the smugglers” for providing “false information” to entice people to make the journey — and to pay thousands of dollars to the smuggling organizations for the trip.
The problem is that oftentimes, the information isn’t completely false, and migrants are being caught and released.
It’s that chance for a foothold in the U.S. that experts say is enticing much of the wave of illegal immigration that erupted under Mr. Biden.
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