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Migrants arrested in border stampede of National Guard troops released by judge on Easter Sunday


Illegal migrants who were allegedly part of a stampede that overwhelmed National Guard troops in Texas were released by an El Paso judge on Sunday.

“Presiding Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta made his ruling on Sunday, March 31, during an online teleconference bond hearing where he accused the El Paso District Attorney’s Office of not being ready to proceed with detention hearings for each defendant,” the El Paso Times reported.

“The arrests were made by the Texas Department of Public Safety in connection with a March 21 stampede of asylum-seeking migrants — mostly men from Venezuela — who torn down razor wire along the Rio Grande and rushed the border fence at Border Safety Initiative Marker No. 36 in the Riverside area of El Paso’s Lower Valley,” the outlet noted.

Video footage showed the migrant men ripping through the fencing and charging past members of the Texas National Guard.

“Some migrants face charges of assault of a public servant for knocking down Texas National Guard troops before order was regained,” the El Paso Times reported. “It was unclear if the judge’s ruling applied only to the ‘riot participation’ charge and not to assault and criminal mischief charges related to the chaotic border rush.”

“It is unknown how many migrants were booked on a charge of “riot participation,” a Class B misdemeanor, but Acosta mentioned “hundreds of arrestees” were entitled to individual detention hearings within 48 hours,” the outlet noted.

But at a hearing on Easter Sunday, the judge ordered, “It is the ruling of the court that all the rioting participation cases will be released on their own recognizance.”

Assistant District Attorney Ashley M. Martinez had requested a continuance to reschedule the hearing, which Acosta rejected.

“So if the DA’s office is telling me that they are not ready to go, what we’re going to do is we’re going to release all these individuals on their own recognizance,” the judge said at the hearing.

“Later on Sunday morning, two other migrants, including a Colombian man, had separate hearings on criminal mischief charges for allegedly cutting border fencing. They were jailed under a $2,000 bond each. Magistrate Judge Antonio Aun granted their release on personal recognizance bonds. Both men have immigration holds,” the Times reported.

Another hearing is expected Monday for more defendants.

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