EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The United States Border Patrol El Paso Sector says migrants are using buses to leave the El Paso area and are being encountered at checkpoints.
“Migrants, unfortunately, are getting away from agents and attempting to exit El Paso. That means that our checkpoint operations have increased,” said Carlos Rivera, a spokesperson for the Border Patrol El Paso Sector.
Rivera told KTSM 9 News that over the Christmas weekend, several busloads of migrants were encountered trying to exit El Paso.
“One bus load was upwards of about 38 migrants encountered in one case involving a bus,” said Rivera.
Over the weekend, over 420 migrants were encountered trying to make it further into the U.S. and attempting to evade arrest, according to a tweet made by Border Patrol Chief Peter Jaquez.
Chief Jaquez also tweeted last week, saying that about 60 migrants were encountered as they were trying to cross an Alamogordo checkpoint in three buses headed north.
During the influx of migrants in 2019, El Paso Border Patrol had to shut down checkpoints due to agents being needed elsewhere. However, Rivera says at the moment, Border Patrol has not needed to shut down checkpoints.
“Fortunately, right now, we have Border Patrol processing coordinators, data entry specialists. We have more resources now than we had in 2019,” said Rivera.
As KTSM 9 News has previously reported, migrants sleeping near Sacred Heart Church in Downtown El Paso are not able to stay at the Convention Center due to them not having the correct documentation as they have not been processed by Border Patrol.
Our crews are speaking with migrants in the area, with multiple saying they are from Venezuela, a country still subject to expulsion under Title 42.
A woman in Downtown El Paso says it was difficult to cross into the United States.
“The difficult part crossing here is that immigration is always present at the border,” said the woman from Venezuela whose last name is Correa.
Adding that now she is here, she is afraid to leave El Paso.
“I do feel stuck here, to be honest, because at least we had a hope of continuing further up for those of us who were already here,” she said.
A man from Venezuela, also in Downtown El Paso, saying many migrants are afraid to leave.
“There are a lot of people who are scared of leaving to other cities because they are scared of being deported back to Mexico,” said Alberto Rodriguez from Venezuela.
Several videos have shown migrants crossing the border illegally along the Border Highway, climbing over the border fence and climbing through holes cut in a chain-link fence. They then proceed to run across the Border Highway, creating a safety hazard.
“There’s areas in El Paso, especially along Downtown and the Border Highway, where migrants, unfortunately, are getting away from agents, and then they turn to the community asking for help. We ask the community to not expose themselves to any possible risks,” said Rivera.